Delicate image of the Virgin Mary in alabaster. 18th century
Size: cm 23
Weight: gr 600
The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church: it states that the Virgin Mary was free of original sin from the moment of her conception. It proved highly controversial in the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. In 1854 was adopted as Church dogma when Pope Pius IX promulgated Ineffabilis Deus. Protestants overwhelmingly rejected Ineffabilis Deus as an exercise in papal power and the doctrine itself as without foundation in Scripture. The Eastern Orthodoxy, although it reveres Mary in its liturgy, called on the Roman church to return to the faith of the early centuries. The iconography of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception shows her standing, with arms outspread or hands clasped in prayer. She is presented as the counterpart and the redemption of original sin. Since in the Annunciation Mary, with her ‘yes’, is the antithesis of Eve’s disobedience so she is the repairer of sin, the one who recovers primitive integrity. In the iconography, the transposition of the literary text is immediate: Mary tramples the snake to indicate her victory over evil: Quos Evae culpa damnavit, Maria gratia solvit. Her feast day is 8 December
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