Caravaggio
Madonna of Loreto of the Pilgrims

1603-1605
Oil on canvas
Church of St. Augustine, Rome

Loreto is the Italian town to which the Virgin's childhood home is believed to have been miraculously transported from Nazareth. The home, a tiny cottage, has been a pilgrimage site since at least the 15th century. The walking sticks identify the two figures in the foreground as pilgrims, while the bare feet and ragged clothing bespeak a poverty that may characterize the proper attitude of pilgrims: being "poor in spirit," aware of how deep is one's spiritual need.

More of portraits of the Virgin Mary

Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.