Like a Blessed Virgin: Painting of Madonna as Holy Mother Appears in Rome
Sacrilege or street art? In case you didn't know, Madonna is the Italian name for the Blessed Mother. It's also the name of the reigning Queen of Pop. And now it's a holy (or blasphemous, depending on how religious you are) and very literal combination of the two, thanks to an anonymous Madge fan in Italy.
On a street corner in Rome, a sacred 1867 votive of Saint Mary cradling a child alongside Saint Phillip has been replaced by a decidedly more modern photomontage/painting of Madonna dressed in the Holy Mother's traditional blue robes, delighting fans of the pop icon worldwide. Her impact!
But fear not, classic art enthusiasts and/or devout Christian worshipers: The original 19th century painting located on Vicolo di S. Celso was not destroyed in the name of pop art. It was reportedly removed beforehand for restoration some time near 2000, though its location today remains somewhat of a mystery. The provocative Madonna artwork that exists there now — lovingly dubbed the Saint Madonna Ciccone — only serves as a temporary tongue-in-cheek fill-in, graffiti at the holiest of levels.
While Madonna herself doesn't seem to have anything to do with the painting (and so far hasn't acknowledged its existence), the controversial music legend is no stranger to the ways of blasphemy: She incurred the wrath of the Vatican when she crucified herself onstage during her Confessions Tour, and her music video for "Like a Prayer" was condemned by the Catholic church, among other offenses.
It's unclear how long the painting will remain before being removed by city officials.But for now, fans can call Madonna's name like a little prayer from below the Holy Pop Star's impromptu shrine in the heart of the Italian capital. Who's ready to make a pilgrimage?
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