18th C, Religious, Probably Spanish School, Gilded Sculpture of the Virgin and Child surrounded by a Halo of Rays and Roses, Gilded Wood, 63 x 41 x 12 cm
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Madonna and Child are surrounded by a halo of rays (flames) and roses. The representation of the Virgin Mary in a halo of rays originates from the Revelation of John the Evangelist. The presence of the roses has to do with the propagation of the rosary by the Dominicans. On October 7, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This celebration is related to the memory of the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571) where the Christian League defeated the Ottomans. Many soldiers, and even the Pope, are said to have prayed the rosary fervently in response to the impending battle. The wooden statue still bears traces of gilding. The back of the sculpture has been flattened. Was the sculpture part of a so-called Marianum? Such a Marianum consisted of two identical (but each other’s mirror image) Mary statues placed back to back, often surrounded by a halo of rays and sometimes flowers. This type of sculpture hanged from the vault of the church, usually halfway up the nave. Thus, it could be seen from both sides. The Marianum was popular in the late 15th and 16th centuries.