The Birth of Mary

18th century
Bürgersaalkirche, Munich, Germany

This take on the birth of Mary departs sharply from traditional treatments of the subject. Gone is the sumptuous interior; instead, the figures are placed before a temple, one of the symbols for the Virgin Mary. On the half-column at left is a nest in which a pelican is feeding its chicks, an evocation of the crucifixion. (See the page for the pelican symbol.) By contrast, the figures form a naturalistic scene of domestic bliss. Joachim smiles paternally as Anne holds the baby on her lap. The midwife has finished washing the child in the basin, and little Mary is clean and radiant.

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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.