Giovanni Domenico Cerrini
The Virgin Mary Triumphs over Heresy

Fresco on stucco
Vault, Church of Our Lady of Victory, Rome

The 17th century loved trompe-l'oeil ceilings with figures rising to Heaven. Here putti seem to lift the figure of Mary up away from the viewer toward an infinite sky of light. Her sceptre is echoed by the sword that the angel in red wields below. The sword is the only actual weapon in the composition and may be a visual pun on the name of Cerrini's patron, Cardinal Bernardino Spada. (Spada is Italian for "sword.") The angel in blue wields a flame, and the one in green behind him carries a banner on a standard.

Below these combatants the heretics have fallen with their books and papers into a Hell populated by writhing snakes. Above the combatants three angels play heavenly music, another angel brings Mary a crown, and putti carry laurel crowns and palm branches signifying the martyrs.

Read more about images of Our Lady of Victory.

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