Modern Mary


Photo by: Hibachirama

I stumbled upon this phenomenal photo today.  This statue was sculpted by Robert Graham and it sits above the huge bronze doors (which he also designed) at the entrance to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.  Apparently it is a bit controversial due to the fact that Mary is not pictured in the normal veil.  In addition, the man who sculpted her usually sculpted nudes. 

I however, think his statue is absolutely beautiful.  This is what the cathedral website has to say about it:

The ornamental space above the pair of bronze doors contains the 8 foot image of Our Lady of the Angels. The modern figure is presented as a woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Revelations 12:1). The halo shaft above her head shines God’s light on her as the sun travels from east to west.

Mary does not wear the traditional veil. Her arms are bare, outstretched to welcome all. Her carriage is confident, and her hands are strong, the hands of a working woman. From the side can be seen a thick braid of hair down her back that summons thoughts of Native American or Latina women. Other characteristics, such as her eyes, lips and nose convey Asian, African and Caucasian features. Without the conventional regal trappings of jewels, crown or layers of clothing, she has a dignity that shines from within.

Originally, two bronzed angels were to be placed one on each side of Our Lady of the Angels. However, the first Spanish name for Los Angeles was El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, Reina de los Angeles. Mary is Queen of Los Angeles, so the people in her city are her angels.

I love, love, love it how the sculptor incorporated all the various ethnicities into one statue.  Absolutely brilliant.  And “her hands are strong, the hands of a working woman” captures something wonderful to me…even sacred I think. 

While I can understand why some people might find this statue offensive, I am astounded by it’s beauty.

Tags: , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Modern Mary”

  1. EJ Says:

    Just a little more information. The bronze doors which sit under that sculpture were sculpted by the actress Angelica Houston’s husband, whom, I believe, recently passed away.

  2. EJ Says:

    LOL – let me try that again. Anjelica Huston (knew I hadn’t spelled that correctly) and her husband IS Robert Graham, Jr. The sculptor of both the statue and those doors.

  3. pinkhammer Says:

    I didn’t know that. Thanks for the additional info EJ. : )

  4. Happy Anniversary! « Says:

    […] Modern Mary (1/17/09) […]

  5. Happy Birthday! « Says:

    […] Modern Mary (1/17/09) […]

  6. Dorthy Hall Says:

    A friend encoraged me to look at this post, great post, interesting read… keep up the nice work!

  7. Sara J. Green Says:

    Thanks Dorthy! This is one of my favorites. : )

  8. Jennifer Gaskin Says:

    This statue doesn’t even look like it is of a woman, let alone Our Lady.
    I think it is awful and insulting to Her.
    Our Lady should be depicted in a way that reflects her beauty and perfection. Not an androgynous figure devoid of any character or dignity.

  9. Sara J. Green Says:

    I am sorry that you find the statue insulting, Jennifer. I think it might look a bit androgynous because of the angle the picture was taken from. I have not seen it in person myself but apparently from other angles it is quite obvious it is a woman. While I find it a beautiful and dignified representation of her, I can see why others would not agree.

    Grace and peace,

  10. jen Says:

    pink, responding to your comments about her working hands, check out the poem by dorianne laux called “prayer.” you will love it. let me find a website that has it: it is the second poem on this web page. if you read it out loud you can hear the rhythm of her hand’s labor. it’s one of my favorite all time poems and you willl love it:

    hope you are well and having fun up there. i know you’re working hard but i hope you think it is great!

    bye love fish c.

  11. Michael Manning O. Carm Says:

    What an amazing statue. Seldom do I come across an image of Mary which takes my breath away. I am going to search for more of Graham’s work. Thank you Michael

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: