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.