The Birth of Mary

17th century?
Church of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy

This painting is an example of how some later artists valued reverence and fidelity to the sources less than fashion and showmanship. Medieval painters pictured St. Anne in middle age because the legends all said she was 20 years into her marriage when Mary was conceived. But here she is pictured as an wrinkled old crone. And her daughter, heretofore honored as the God-Bearer and Queen of Heaven, is a yeowling nuisance consigned to the lower left corner, in the arms of a young woman who looks to the viewer for sympathy.

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Read more about images of Mary's birth and youth.

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