Filippo della Valle
North transept, Church of Sant'Ignazio, Rome
Instead of the objects usually placed to characterize the Virgin Mary in this era (book, vase of lilies, prie-dieu), the artist focuses Mary's attention and ours on a basket that the putti are presenting before her. The literal basket can be a survival of earlier iconography that referenced an apocryphal account in which Mary was preparing thread for the Temple veil
(example). But this time a cloth covers something heaped inside the basket. Most likely, the viewer is expected to think the of what such a basket usually contains – bread, a fitting symbol for the life that has begun in Mary's womb,
symbolizing the body of Christ "given for you" in the sacrament of the Eucharist (Luke 22:19).
Read more about the Annunciation.
Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.