Carlo Pellicani, after Carlo Buzzi
The Birth of the Virgin Mary

1807-13
Marble
West façade, Milan Cathedral

Reverting to a medieval narrative structure, the sculpture shows the baby at two points in time. The first is as she emerges from her mother, who is seen lying on the bed in a dramatically receding perspective. We see her head just above the head of the center midwife. The second point in time is as that midwife holds the baby in preparation for her bath.

Despite this medieval approach, the details of the sculpture are of classical inspiration: the putti, the architecture of the background, the naturalistic muscularity of the midwives, and the chitons they are wearing. These details are consistent with the traditional assumption in the images that the place of Mary's birth was a wealthy home.

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