Story book Madonna, fair-haired with peachy skin and cloaked in fine blue linen to match her sparkling eyes, all illuminated by the gold of her halo.

I paint a brown-skinned Mary with black hair, oiled and glossy, her peasant’s hands calloused from work. The loose-fitting dress of light brown homespun wool, dusty from carrying water over rough ground, is now tucked up into her embroidered belt while she sweeps the wood shavings from the workshop floor. Her only gold is that of her dowry, rings in ears and nose.

My Madonna’s eyes are deep, dark and brown.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
22 days ago

It’s always interested me, the strong influences that the church has with regard to symbolism, the assumptions that have been made as to what Jesus, Mary and Joseph et al would look like. I love that your protagonist has chosen to paint Mary as she would probably have really looked. I often wonder if her name would even have been Mary, I wouldn’t have thought it would be a name normally used in that locale. Nicely done, Susan.

Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
21 days ago

I love this so much Susan, and completely agree with Carrie’s comment too! I would love to see your protagonists interpretation of Mary, she sounds wonderful, and much more how I’d imagine! ❤

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
21 days ago

Thanks, Susan for giving a more realistic interpretation of Mary.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
20 days ago

Wow! I love it so much. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of Mary in a very realistic interpretation. Well done, Susan.

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Heather C
Heather C(@heather-c)
20 days ago

I think your take on this prompt was very unique. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into how Mary truly looked. I also liked how you painted such a stark comparison between the “sparkling” and ethereal image of Mary and the “homespun,” dusty, down to earth image of Mary. Great contrast and compare. Nicely written. 🙂

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
19 days ago

Like Heather, I enjoyed reading the contrasts between the story-book Mary and what is more likely to have been the case, including her clothing, her hands, her hair and her eyes.
It’s interesting, like Carrie says, to see what the church has made of Mary. I just came back from a trip to the southern part of Colombia, where I saw an incredible cathedral, built over a river and totally dedicated to Mary. It’s called Santuario de las Lajas (please look up!). There were tens of thousands of plaques on the mountain walls outside with inscriptions, expressing thanks to the virgin for having answered their prayers.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
16 days ago

I agree with all these comments. Your story and depiction of Mary certainly gave me food for thought, Susan.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
8 days ago

Congratulations Susan! Loved this more realistic interpretation of Mary.

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