The Presentation in the Temple

Mid-12th century
Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio ("la Martorana"), Palermo, Sicily

The church was built in Greek style by an Orthodox official of the Norman court. The Greek letters in the center spell Hypopanti, a name for the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.

In a clever use of the architecture, the Christ Child and Simeon reach toward each other across the space spanned by the triumphal arch, modeling the beholders' thirst for the God and God's for them. As usual, Simeon's hands are covered by his mantle and Mary is in blue and purple, with stars on her shoulders.

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