A beautiful array of timeless images — both classical and modern — to honor the Virgin Mary, the spiritual mother to us all.
May is traditionally the month of Mary. Around the world, Christians acclaim and remember the Blessed Virgin by praying rosaries, decorating statues with flowers, and participating in May Crowning ceremonies. For Her wanted to honor Mary by presenting a beautiful array of timeless images — both classical and modern — that remind us how Mary is a spiritual mother to us all.
Agiosoritissa Icon (Mother Of God), Unknown Artist
Icons are windows to heaven, and a reminder that those who have died are still with us. This beautiful icon, painted in the 7th century, is one of the oldest known images of Mary. Since very few icons from this period have survived, it’s a treasure.
Virgin Mary Annunciate, By Fra Angelico
Mary—painted here by Fra Angelico, a 15th-century monk—is often portrayed holding a Bible since Jesus is called “The Word.” In a way, by studying the Scriptures, Mary knew and loved her son before he was even conceived.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
This historically significant and famous image of Mary never ceases to amaze viewers, especially when they gaze up at the original in Mexico City. When it miraculously appeared on the cloak of a peasant named Juan Diego in 1531, the image became a sign for ages to come of Mary’s love for humanity.
Madonna, by Filippo Lippi (Mid-15th Century)
The Scriptures say that Mary pondered the words and actions of Jesus in her heart. Whether she understood or not, Mary always prayerfully and calmly considered how God was at work in her life and in the world.
Christ Child Breastfeeding, Unknown Artist
One of many historical images of Mary breastfeeding Jesus, this one depicts the beauty of the human body and the closeness of a mother and child in the most basic of human interactions.
African Madonna, Unknown Artist
This beautiful depiction of an African Madonna with vibrant colors and a stylized manner is reminiscent of an icon in its formality, but still conveys the tender protectiveness of a mother for her child.
Head of the Virgin, by Leonardo da Vinci
This image, a practice chalk drawing for a later painting, shows how masterful Leonardo was at his craft. The Virgin’s profile is serene and has been described as possessing “magical beauty.” It’s hard not to notice the love in her eyes.
African Madonna, by Hennie Niemann Jnr
Painted by South African artist Hennie Niemann Jnr, the creativity and use of color in this painting reveals Mary as we’ve never seen her before. Serene and beautiful, she appears ageless.
Virgin Mary, by Francesco Francia, ca. 1450
Francia painted the Virgin here with such delicacy that supposedly the people of Venice, “when they beheld the new and living beauty, ran madly to see it, thinking it would never be possible to improve upon it.”
Virgin Mary, by Jan Van Eyck (from the Ghent Altarpiece, 1432)