A reader sent me this from the eulogy fort Robert Graham who made the controversial statue of Our Lady above the great bronze doors. He is known for his bronze nudes.
“It is very difficult to describe in our human words the beauty and grandeur of that lady. I remember when Robert had pretty well decided on how he wanted her to look, he invited us over to his studio; and he a small plaster image of what he had in mind and he had it covered. So before he took the cover off I closed my eyes. And he took the cover off and I opened one eye carefully, then opened both widely. And I said, Robert, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” And he said, “It isn’t finished yet. Don’t thank me. I said, “No, Robert, I’m thanking you because Mary is wearing clothes.” [laughter] [article]
I guess that would make her the Dressed Virgin Mary in this case.
I still think that statue is quite horrid. One of my commenters on first seeing it called it St. Sarek, Androgynous Vulcan Moon Goddess. I think he got it right.
Vulcan Moon Goddess, huh? Much nicer than what I call it. Looks more like the patron saint of NAMBLA.
yeah I was going to say that it looked more like a young teenage male, than Mary the mother of God.
I guess we know what they artist is thinking of.
Well, I can’t guess what the artist was thinking, but his vision does not look like a mother, or even a woman, so “she” is disqualified (by most of us) as representing Mary, Mother of God and our Mother.
It would be interesting to know what the artist meant to convey about the Blessed Mother.
Hmmm. Lady of the Angels? Maybe androgyny is the point, considering that angels have no gender? And Mary has tended to resemble those to whom She has appeared? But, even then, angels who have appeared to human persons have been “clothed” by gender, right? At least, this was true of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael…
My daughters (10 and 7) think this is the ugliest statue of their Blessed Mother they’ve ever seen. The Cathedral site makes a big deal that she isn’t veiled, that her arms are uncovered. Yikes! I doubt she ever would have appeared in public that way – completely uncovered! – as it would have been completely immodest.
As far as appearing similar to the person she appears to, she appears only as herself, never androgynous. Even when appearing to boys or men, she is still the Virgin Mary, not a gender-bending version of herself.
Honestly, if I hadn’t been told this was the Virgin Mary, I never would have guessed. Apparently, unseen by most people because of the vantage at which we see her, this Mary has a braid down her back. (Got that from the Cathedral site, too.)
Now as far as Queen of the Angels go, that does NOT mean she is an angel. (Impossible.) She is Queen of the Angels, meaning “ranked” higher (for lack of a better word at the moment).
THIS is Mary, Queen of the Angels. Or this. Or this. Or even this old piece, painted on a hide in what might have been the 17th Century.
Honor and respect are due the Blessed Virgin Mary. This statue seems to have so little of either. 🙁
I think the fact that the work is not a nude is about the best thing you can say about it. This fellow’s other work is a wonderful expression of our weird porno culture. I particularly like the grotesque beheaded torsos he did for the Olympics and the disembodied fist he did for the impoverished empty place that was once the city of Detroit. This junk will have future cultures perplexed forever.
“I think the fact that the work is not a nude is about the best thing you can say about it.”
I don’t think that’s quite fair, and in reality, that makes it all the more sad. The statute actually looks like a person, as opposed to a slag heap. It isn’t misshapen or marred by weird seams or anything. It’s just a representation of an ugly person wearing weird clothes. So really, I find that more tragic than some wholehearted example of modern abstraction. Someone who could have made attractive, life-like statutes should have done so. Instead he seems to have wasted his time.
I think he just wanted to save money on bronze and make it less technically difficult, by portraying a woman with short hair and not much in the way of curves. (Also to showcase his little halo window.) He compensated with a big robe.
It just didn’t work out very well, that’s all.
Maureen’s comment was helpful as my first reaction is: “whatever happened to her hair, and what possible reason could he have in clipping it, other than for shock value?”
I liked it. Very sparse and open for people to see what they want (i.e., Hispanics, blacks, whites, Asian). I think her clothing is reminiscent of a religious habit. Plain and uncomplicated. As an art history major (what a worthless degree LOL…I switched because I got tired of faculty telling me what I should think about art) I think that art is open to interpretation. How would a Western or European style Madonna speak to the different cultures in LA who call the cathedral home? Just my humble opinion.
As a resident in the aformentioned archdiocese in LA, let me state that pictures do not do that hideous excuse for a statue justice, (It REALLY is that horrible in person)…How anyone can see ANYTHING worth merit in the Manly statue above those doors, I have no idea…That statue would come down if I was in charge…
If it was meant 4 ppl of different cultures to feel represented.. hmmm mayb the alien culture? but seriously I can’t think of anyone saying, yes we´re finally represented..
Okayy, the bronze is, in a modern-esque fashion, adorned with the sun and standing on the moon, as the Virgin Mary is described in Revelation 12:1.