Picturing Mary exhibit in D.C.

By Teresa Tomeo
Eye on Culture

In January, as they have for more than 40 years since the dreadful Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, thousands upon thousands of supporters of life will headed to Washington D.C for the annual March for Life. Some will pull a red eye and drive all night through snow, sleet, rain, and just about anything Old Man Winter decides to throw at them. In terms of last year’s weather, well, suffice it to say it was one of the worst on record but the show, or the March must go on, and it did indeed.

Hopefully, if you visit D.C., you can build some extra time into your schedule to see the sights with a special effort to make it to an exhibit. Who better to represent the pro-life cause than the Blessed Mother? How interesting, given all the battles in Washington that have centered on or greatly impacted the life issues, that Our Lady would be front and center at a public art exhibit. And with the help of some beautiful sisters, the Blessed Mother may not only be encouraging pro-life activists but creating new ones as well.

The exhibition at the National Museum for Women in the Arts is entitled “Picturing Mary; Woman, Mother, Idea” and runs through April 12. According to the museum’s web site, the masterpieces on display are designed to help one explore “the concept of womanhood represented by the Virgin Mary as well as the social and sacred functions her image has served through time.”

The exhibition contains more than 60 Renaissance and Baroque era pieces from a number of sources including the Vatican museums, the Uffizi Gallery and private collectors. The art work is designed to walk us through the different stages of Mary’s life including her roles as daughter, mother, cousin and wife.

Anyone who appreciates beauty, more specifically beauty through art, will want to see this exhibit. We probably will never know, given the subject matter, how many people, regardless of their faith background or maybe lack thereof will be impacted by the art work and be moved to reconsider not only the life of Mary but the life of her son.

With this in mind, the Dominican order, Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, decided to offer some further food for thought – an inspirational gift for those who want to go a little bit deeper when viewing this exhibit. This gift comes wrapped in the form of a web site, www.picturingmary.com.

It’s a guided encounter to 10 of the exhibition pieces with the hope of deepening the visitors experience by “deepening their knowledge of Mary.” The web site includes an accompanying reflection along with links to the catechism concerning the church’s Marian teachings as well as a number of other great Marian resources. The exhibit itself, as the Sisters of Mary state, is a real testimony to the beauty of the Blessed Mother – the beauty she continues to radiate over the centuries and through the generations.

Blessed Pope Paul VI said that modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. In a culture that often treats motherhood and everything associated with it as a disease, this exhibition and the accompanying web site provides a real opportunity to show case true feminine genius from the greatest witness of this genius – the Mother of God.

  Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 130.

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