Monday, December 08, 2008

Immaculate Conception.

No I'm not taking about the excellent Madonna's Greatest Hits CD from 1990 but Mary.

Today is a public holiday in Italy and the start of the holiday season.

I find it interesting the start of the holiday season here is an emotional religious day as opposed to "Black Friday" . The church bells (there are five within a few blocks from my home) are ringing more today.

Last year when I went to Venice I took a photo of Titian's "Assumption of Mary". The photo of course cannot do it justice. It was very dark in the church and I was still experimenting with the ISO on my new camera.


The painting caused quite a controversy upon its completion. Titian painted a more human Mary and the vibrant colors were a departure from the solemn paintings of that era. If you are visiting Venice, a trip to the Frari Church is a must.

For more information on this day and for videos of processions, my fellow expat Michelle, has written this article for Italy Magazine.

8 comments:

Diana said...

When I was younger I used to bug my mother about why the conception was only three weeks before the birth. She would swat in the air, as if trying to get rid of an annoying fly. :)

Skywalker said...

You're lucky to be in Rome during this time of year. You should definitely try to get a Mass at a Basicilica today

Cherrye at My Bella Vita said...

Happy start of the holidays!! Hope you are enjoying the long weekend.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

diana - ha. That is too funny.

skywalker - I missed mass today but I need to figure out what to do about Christmas Eve.

cherrye - thank you! You too. I was working but it was a very productive weekend.

glamah16 said...

I didnt know this about Italian culture.It will be nice to see the hoilday from this perspective.

Kataroma said...

diana - I've been told by reliable sources that Dec 9th is actually the date of the immaculate conception of Mary (ie in the womb of Mary's mother, St Anne). I had no idea before then that both the Virgin Mary and Jesus were conceived immaculately! But apparently Catholic doctrine says that they were. So Mary wasn't pregnant for only 3 weeks - that would have been truly a miracle.

ragazza - I think that the annunciation is a different thing. It's when Mary was told that she was going to conceive immaculately. Wow I know a lot about Christianity for a heathen - but I guess that comes from living in Rome surrounded by art depicting this stuff... Maybe being a non-catholic I ask more questions! :)

Jessica said...

Ah, I love this Titian! So beautiful with its vibrant colors. Kata, the Annunciation is when the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was pregnant with Christ. The Assumption is when Mary was lifted directly into heaven and is actually celebrated on August 15.

The Immaculate Conception is the idea that Mary herself was also conceived without sin. Though it was a long held belief, it was only officially put into Catholic doctrine in the 1800s.

This is what I get with the art history major!

PS. If you go to the Frari also check out Titian's Pesaro Altarpiece, which was revolutionary because he paints it on a diagonal composition. Ok, I'll stop now!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

glamah16 - Yesterday was a trip. It's seemed very single family in Italy was in Rome. Kids everywhere walking around with balloons. It was sweet.

kataroma - thank you. I get the August 15th holiday and the December 8th holiday mixed up. I was raised Methodist but have many Catholic friends. I now understand why they had to go to CCD classes. There is a lot to learn!

jessica - The Frari Church was one of the highlights of my Venice trip. The art was just beautiful.

p.s. I will email you about the Bernini book.