The final artwork of this series on Tilman Riemenschneider is a wood carving of the Madonna and Child suspended in an oval frame. The figures are carved on both sides, so that the work is visible from two directions. Mary, solemn and beautiful, noble in bearing, yet simply dressed, is showing the Christ child to the world.
We probably all have our favorite images of Mary, and as Christmas nears we see a lot of Madonna and Child depictions. It may be timely therefore to reflect on how we picture the mother of Jesus, and how art shapes our theological imagination concerning her role in the history of salvation. What is your favorite image of Mary and why? Conversely, what sort of depictions seem inadequate or disengaging to you?
I have to admit, I like this image. It seems to me this is a courageous Mary, the sort of woman who could utter the Magnificat in a convincing way. She is an eschatological figure, the one who stands at the threshold of the age to come. I see her as the embodiment of hope.