Venerating the Mystery The Virgin and Child, a 13th Century Icon

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The Fogg Museum's icon "The Virgin and Child" captures and venerates the mystery of the Madonna in a way that powerfully awes even the modern viewer. The work entrances the viewer with mesmeric textures and shapes while removing him from the holy and unknowable religious space it creates. The resulting tension creates a powerful and dynamic contradiction that engulfs the viewer and evokes the eternal devotional mystery. Immediately upon encountering the icon, The Virgin's eyes …

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showed last 75 words of 784 total
…authentic awe. Held rapt by the hypnotic textures, the viewer is confronted by radiant and mysterious power. Humbled by this power, and excluded from it, the viewer identifies with its warmth and love. The tensions of exclusion and identity produce a paradox that must be confronted. That this paradox is so compelling to the modern viewer, leaves one wondering about the scale of a 13th Century viewer's awe. Perhaps the icon's holy space is timeless.