And the Virgin’s Name Was Mary, Part 2

The story goes that as a young child (around 3) Mary was presented to the Temple, where she would remain until age 12 to be educated.  After this age, due to her menstruation she could not stay at the Temple as it was considered a defilement of the holy place.  Thus, she was betrothed to Joseph and married soon after.  A common tale involving Mary’s presentation is that she was placed on the bottom steps and climbed the entire flight of stairs on her own.  I’m not sure why this was supposed to be a feat worthy of retelling–3-year-olds are hardly incapable of climbing stairs.  Perhaps it was just a really long flight of stairs.  More likely it was intended to demonstrate the little girl’s courage, as she clambered up the high steps to meet with the strange men waiting for her at the top.

Alfonso Boschi – Presentation of Mary at the Temple (17th C.)

Wikipedia: Alfonso Boschi

Cima da Conegliano – Mary’s Presentation (1500)

Wikipedia: Cima de Conegliano

Denys Calvaert – Presentation of St. Mary

Wikipedia: Denys Calvaert

Francisco de Zurbarán – Childhood of the Virgin (1658-60)

Wikipedia: Francisco de Zurbarán

Franz Joseph Spiegler – Mary and the High Priest Zacharias (18th C.)

Wikipedia: Franz Joseph Spiegler

Franz Xaver König – The Education of the Virgin Mary, St. Anne Parish Church, Salzburg, Austria (1752)

This next painting is the earliest visual representation of Mary’s presentation that I am aware of.  If anyone knows of an earlier example, please contact me.

Giotto di Bondone – Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (1266)

Giotto di Bondone: The Complete Works

Wikipedia: Giotto

Paolo Uccello – Presentation of Mary (1435-1440)

Paolo Uccello: The Complete Works

Wikipedia: Paolo Uccello

Titian – Presentation of the Virgin Mary (1534–38)

Titian: The Complete Works

Wikipedia: Titian

Artist Unknown – Anne with Child, Altmannsdorfer Church, Vienna, Austria

Artist Unknown – Presentation at Temple of the Holiest Mother of God (1290-1310)

Artist Unknown – Right panel of altar in the Church of Maria Immaculata, Dietelskirchen, Bavaria, Germany

Wikimedia Commons: Presentation of Virgin Mary

Wikipedia: Presentation of Mary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *