Painting Our Lady Mary | Meaning and Symbols of the Miraculous Medal


this Madonna was a special commission
ordered by a mother to be my customer is devoted to Our Lady of the Miraculous
Medal, a Madonna venerated throughout the world whose apparition is believed to
happen in Paris France 1830. For every commission I get I research the
images origins. This Madonna illustrates the vision of st. Catherine Labouré
a nun from the Order of Saint Vincent De Paul. The medallions were designed in collaboration with goldsmith Adrien Vachette one of the formers official jewellers from the court of King Louis XVIII. some of you may know I studied art
history and I am fond of learning Marian iconography as well as mythology,
folktales and legends from another countries, cultures and beliefs. So here is the story about our Lady of
the Miraculous Medal and how I interpreted it to recreate a painting
in my own style. First of all in Christian iconography
colours have their own meaning. The colour Blue is related to Our Lady since medieval ages. This pigment, by the way, was very
difficult to get. It was extracted from lapis lazuli crystals, an ornamental
stone sourced from a location in Persia, now Afghanistan. This blue was called
ultramarine blue and it was extremely expensive. So you can imagine that not
all painters could afford to use it. As this kind of blue was even more valuable
than gold, it was applied mainly on important subjects, such as royalty
deities and the Virgin Mary. You can recognise the madonna of the miraculous
medal by her iconography or the main elements that go with her. The iconography of the Madonna of the
miraculous medal is related to the woman of the Apocalypse described in the Bible
Book of Revelations chapter 12. It says a great sign appeared in Heaven. A woman
clothed with the sun the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars upon
her head. The serpent below her feet is related to
a chapter 3 in the Book of Genesis. When Adam and Eve were exiled from Paradise
God cursed the serpent for its fault. He said I will put enmity between you
and the woman and between your offspring and hers and He will crush your head. In
other versions it is a ‘She’ who would crush the Serpent’s head, and this is
because the Immaculate Conception has immunity from sin. The letter M refers to Mary as Mother
Mediatrix that intercedes for humanity. The cross and bar above the M symbolises Jesus cross of redemption I needed to merge the two sides of the
metal in one image, so I rearranged it to get a more balanced composition,
with all the elements visible in one surface. In some way the main composition
can resemble an uterus and fallopian tubes. Twelve stars around the medal
represent the 12 apostles, surrounding Maria. On one side, Her heart appears trespassed with a sword, referring to the prophecy of Simeon and
the sorrows that she would suffer for the sacrifice of her own son. On the
other side is the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns. Around the margin of the frame appeared the words ‘Oh Mary, conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee’. In st. Catharine’s vision Our Lady
is displaying rays of light from her hands over the globe, symbolising the graces
shed ‘upon those who ask for them’. This is how the story tells that Virgin Mary asked St Catherine to reproduce her image in medallions, promising that all
who wear them would receive great Graces. In many religions and beliefs ‘Grace’
means a gift of love given without being deserved. In the painting I re-shaped the medal and Our Lady’s body to resemble an egg, the emblem of the origin of life and immortality, as well as the hope of life in the beyond. I hope you enjoyed this video as much as
I enjoyed editing it to show you a bit of my work. You’re welcome to visit my
website and see more paintings that I have made as well as fine art prints
available. Don’t forget to subscribe to see more
videos like this. Until the next one, Bye!

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