There are countless images of the Madonna all over Venice, both inside churches and museums and also out on the streets, inside shrines, and on buildings. So many beautiful ones but this rustic relief of the Madonna dell’Umilta is one of my favorites. She’s tucked away on a quiet residential street in Castello, set into the wall above a door (I didn’t stumble across this one by accident; I knew to go looking for her).
This 15th century relief is unique because it’s carved from wood rather than stone. According to Alberto Rizzi (Scultura Esterna a Venezia), this Madonna was most likely inside a shrine, but today the tabernacle is gone and only the icon remains.
She’s showing signs of age (at one time, the wood was painted but you can barely see the traces) but still, her smile is peaceful and there’s an air of serenity and joy around her. And what a fat and happy baby! He looks more like Buddha than Christ to me.
Thanks to A Lover of Venice for sharing the Rizzi info with me. And if you haven’t checked out ALoV’s website lately, please do. There are a number of new pages including the best collection of Venice links on the web, and also a “Photo of the Week” page. Walks though Santa Croce and San Polo have been added and also some amazing photos taken from a ship leaving Venice for Istanbul.