Learning from Art

Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God …” but it also teaches.

We can learn a great deal about what the Church teaches on a variety of doctrines from this piece by Velazquez.

First of all, the event pictured is the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.  We think about this event when we pray the 5th Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.  Mary is easy to recognize in her traditional blue robes, and is shown with her body being supported by angels.  This is a reminder of the doctrine that she was taken up, body and soul to heaven in a unique favor known as the Assumption.

God is rightly pictured here as the Holy Trinity.  Can your children spot the traditional representations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?*  All are at an equal height and are playing an equal role in honoring Mary, using this picture to show that “their glory is equal“.

Neither the Assumption, the Coronation nor the Trinity are mentioned by name in the Bible, but this painting is just a wonderful reminder that Catholics believe Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition work together equally to form the full Deposit of Faith handed down to us by the Apostles. Both are the Word of God and deserve equal reverence and respect.

The Blessed Mother is shown here as perfect – a reminder of her perpetual virginity – and is pictured as regal as a queen should be.  It’s interesting to note that though this painting is now in a museum, it was thought to originally be in the private chapel of the Queen of Spain.  What better example could she have had!

*Father (older and holding a round object representative of the Earth)
Son (younger and seated at the Father’s right hand)
Holy Spirit (the dove resting on her head)

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