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Virgin Mary

oil painting of Mary and the stump of jesse

Mary and the Stump of Jesse

By Art and Faith, Virgin Mary

The narrative thread of a tree continues throughout the entire Bible. The tree grow in Genesis, but by the time we get to Isaiah it has been cut down and only a stump remains. However, there is still hope that from the roots a shoot, a small branch will grow again and bear fruit. The image references the words of the prophet Ezekiel, “I the Lord … have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish” (17:24)… And then, towards the end of the Gospel narratives, we come to the tree of the cross.

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oil painting woman with stairway

Mary as Jacob’s Ladder

By Art and Faith, Painting, Virgin Mary

Ascent/Descent is a contemporary interpretation of the Virgin Mary as Jacob’s Ladder. This reading of Genesis 28 views Jacob’s vision of the stairway ascending to heaven as a pre-figuration of the Virgin Birth. Mary was the fulfillment of the LORD’s promise in this passage “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Through Jesus’ salvation (brought forth by Mary) we are able to ascend to heaven, and through Mary, Jesus descended to earth. Mary was the vehicle, the connection between heaven and earth which allowed salvation to come.

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oil painting of woman in a church

New Marian painting: Interrogatio

By Figures, Architecture, Art and Faith, Painting, Virgin Mary

My newest Marian painting “Interrogatio: Inquiry” depicts that moment of questioning “How can this be?” when the angel announced the Christ’s coming to Mary at the Annunciation. Mary’s vulnerability before God is represented here by the nude female figure. The grand space of the architecture represents God’s overpowering presence. The architecture also becomes a metaphor for Mary herself, often referred to in medieval texts as the Temple or dwelling place of the Lord because of her role in the Incarnation.

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gold mixed media painting contemporary icon

Contemporary Icons: Gold Silhouettes

By Art and Faith, Virgin Mary, Painting, Figures

My newest series of Gold Silhouette paintings are meant to be contemporary icons, modern interpretations of traditional icons. Whether architecture or figure, even landscape, my work has always centered on a theme of convergence between heaven and earth. Similarly, these new mixed media pieces juxtapose the expressive minimalist quality of my figure drawings with the other-worldly materials of metal leaf and paint inspired by iconography.

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Spiritual Nudes: Theology and Empathy in Monoprints

By Virgin Mary, Press and Publications, Printmaking, Figures

Her figures, far from the classical ideal of beauty, retain the brokenness of humanity, a brokenness that is both spiritual and physical. At the same time, Paine preserves their dignity and value, arguing that man’s design is not wholly evil. In each of these figures the signs of life and death are evident, like permanent and deep marks that cannot be wiped away.

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Annunciation/Birth

By Art and Faith, Virgin Mary, Motherhood and Art-Making, PaintingNo Comments

The Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 8 this year, since March 25 fell during Holy week. The Annunciation celebrates the moment when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Savior. This series of Annunciation master studies I have shared over the last months is about waiting, and the expectation of new life. At times this “new life” has been a metaphor for new beginnings, forgiveness, spiritual renewal, but in 2012 the time of waiting was literal, as I waited, in pregnancy, for my baby girl to be born…

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Annunciation after David by Michelle Arnold Paine

Annunciation after David

By Art and Faith, Virgin Mary, Exhibits and Events, Painting, ItalyNo Comments

This Annunciation transcription will be included in the exhibit Compassion: The Good Samaritan, opening at Adams ArtSpace, Harvard College, Cambridge this weekend.

The Annunciation is the moment when God comes to earth – when human and divine come together to become incarnate in Jesus, Savior of the world. The Incarnation, God’s greatest act of compassion.

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Annunciation after del Cossa

By Painting, Italy, Art and Faith, Virgin MaryNo Comments

Appropriate to post another Annunciation transcription today, the Feast of the Archangels (Gabriel, Michael and Raphael). This particular Renaissance Annunciation infuses Classical architecture into the Biblical story of the Gabriel’s announcement to Mary. The painting also shows off the artists’ knowledge of perspective in the way that the artist places the angel in the foreground.

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Annunciation after Beccafumi, Oil on Canvas, 6x6 ©2012

Transcriptions: After Beccafumi

By Painting, Italy, Art and Faith, Virgin MaryNo Comments

Another in my series of Annunciation transcriptions. The original Mannerist painting was completed in 1546 by Italian Domenico Beccafumi and is currently in the little town of Sarteano near Siena, Italy. I’m not always a fan of Mannerism, but I like the mirrored swooping curves in this painting and the sense of motion it creates, so different from the very still, stable Annunciations of Fra Angelico.

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Annunciation after Duccio, Oil on Canvas, 6x6, ©Michelle Arnold Paine

Annunciation after Duccio

By Italy, Art and Faith, Painting, Virgin MaryNo Comments

What is the purpose of “copying” a work of art? Franklin Enspruch phrases it like this in a review of Wendy Artin’s series of watercolors of the Elgin Marbles: “She is at once paying the sculptures due homage, studying them for artistic clues, and using them to reach upward in ambition and scale.”

Somehow, in entering in to someone else’s creation, one often emerges at the other end with a clearer, renewed sense of voice and direction.

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Annunciation, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 1344

Annunciation after Lorenzetti

By Painting, Art and Faith, Italy, Virgin MaryNo Comments

I love the brilliant blue and of Mary and her contemplative gaze in the Annunciation altarpiece by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Lorenzetti was a Sienese painter in the first half of the 14th century and this work of his is presently housed in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena, Italy. My version is tiny, only 6″ x 6″, but I’m looking for the contemplative quality he captures.

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Our Lady of the Barren Tree

The Call to Beauty –

By Italy, Art and Faith, Painting, Virgin MaryNo Comments

Cardus has just published another of my paintings in their online journal Comment.

Our Lady of the Barren Tree is an image of hope: the strange beauty of winter, in which it requries faith to believe that trees and grass are only “sleeping” and will return with new life and growth.
The tree, the vine, the branches – these images evoke the memory of Eve in the garden of Eden whose disobedience eventually brought on the exile of humanity from paradise. Eve’s disobedience was eventually redeemed in the act of Mary’s obedient “May it be to me as you have said”.

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Teaching in Italy — Soon!

By Italy, Teaching, Virgin MaryNo Comments

This is one of those days I would love to be back in Italy – it is warm, but not too warm, but somehow the lure of my suburban street is not as strong as the lure of an Italian street – when I am there I am always pulled outdoors to smell and see and greet and experience some one or some thing that is “new”. But part of the lure is that there is so much that is not new – it is the very, very old which is so appealing.

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