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Whose Mary Is It?

September 15, 2002

I was horrified by the photo on the Sept. 1 cover of Calendar--supposedly depicting the Blessed Mother of God ("In Our Own Image," by Reed Johnson, Sept. 1). I could only think of a glorified Hitler youth.

The statue doesn't even resemble a woman, much less the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.




As much as I appreciated the depiction of the multitude of bronze-door panel images of the Virgin in different times and cultures, I was disappointed that the article made no reference to the magnificent 15th century bronze doors created by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Baptistery in Florence, Italy.


Santa Monica


Peter Cowell writes of Robert Graham's statue, "History tells us that our holy Mother Mary could never have looked or dressed like that" (Letters, Sept. 8).

Biology tells us animals don't really look as they are depicted in the art of Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.

This is not a problem in a religious context where the need to express an object's transcendent aspect overrides benefits of realism.

Cowell would not refer to Mary as Holy Mother if he was interested only in her natural properties, beyond which religious art is meant to explore. Iconography that fails to do so is merely idolatry.



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