Monday, January 7, 2008

Porta Clausa

Madonna del Parto Monterchi, (in central Italy) chapel the the cemetery. Fresco, around 1460. This Madonna was known to be the protector of pregnant women.

Piero Della Francesca. Annunciation for the Legend of the True Cross, 1454-58. These are frescoes in S. francesco, Arezzo Italy.

Porta Clausa: Latin phrase for closed door; refers to Ezekiel's vision of the door of the sanctuary in the Temple that was closed because only the Lord could enter it (Ezekiel 44:1-4). Interpreted as a prophecy and used as a symbol of Mary's virginity, often in scenes of the Annunciation. (Frederick Hart)

The closed door is behind the angel Gabriel. Mary's womb is highlighted with light coming in from a window and we are led to believe that the immaculate conception is taking place as we gaze upon her.

Piero is one of my favorite Italian painters and accordingly, here is one of my favorite paintings by him which appears first in the blog, the Madonna del Parto.

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