The theme of our digital art gallery is Madonna and Child. Our project focuses specifically on Mary and the role she played to an infant Jesus. We will explore this topic using paintings, murals, frescos, sculptures, and many other forms from different locations throughout Europe. We learned that Madonna is an Italian term that dates back to around the medieval period for a noble or important woman, and translates as “My Lady”. This term stresses the relationship between the person addressing her in a way that is both reverent and personal. The Madonna is often represented as the “Queen of Heaven” in paintings that depict Mary with an adult-aged Jesus. However, the term “Madonna and Child” most commonly refer to Mary with an infant Jesus. In these images, Mary’s maternal role is often stressed and depicted. The practice of depicting Madonna dates back to the earliest Christian communities, but her image is especially popular in the Byzantine era (324-1453) through Byzantine icons. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the practice of panel painting gained in popularity, and the image of the Madonna began to spread outside of Rome, especially to Tuscany. The Franciscan and Dominican orders were some of the first to commission panel paintings with the depiction of the Madonna and Child, and their popularity began to spread throughout monasteries, parish churches, and homes. Today the Madonna’s image is common throughout Italy. She and an infant Jesus are often found on buildings, door hangings, statues, and religious buildings. In this project we will explore many of these forms using a blog website: Our group is composed of four members who have contributed to the publishing of this gallery: Abbie Whalin, Anna Maharg, Frank Pagani, Jason Wilson.


Ciao! My name is Abbie Whalin and I am a Junior (almost Senior) at Geneva College. While studying in Rome, my group and I were assigned the topic of Madonna and Child for our digital art gallery. I was very excited when I learned of our topic, because the role of the Madonna is something that has always interested me. Because of this, I chose to focus my personal research essay on the “Legends of the Madonna”, in which I discuss different ideas or beliefs people have held in regards to Mary through the years. The topics I focused specifically on were the legend of the Black Madonna, Madonna Sightings, and Mary’s role in the Church today. Publishing this gallery has allowed me to learn more about Western culture and the Humanities by exploring different artistic forms and techniques used in these art works. I have enjoyed this project very much, and I hope that you learn something new from the entries and essays composed by my group members and myself!

Buongiorno!  My name is Anna Maharg, and I am part of Geneva’s semester in Rome to study the humanities in depth and up close! I am a biology major with the intent of graduate school for physical therapy, and this semester offered a completely different selection of classes then the rest of my studies. Fora humanities project,  we were assigned a digital art gallery topic of Madonna and Child.  Considering this topic while perusing through museums in Rome and other areas in Europe proved to be enlightening.  I went into the part of the assignment of the individual paper with the intent of looking at Madonna and Child through the centuries. Instead, I followed a suggestion to look into iconology.  While researching, the resulting paper ended up focusing on icons and the byzantine art that influenced it.  Though I initially had little interest in Byzantine art, by the end of this paper my opinions had certainly changed! I hope that  the aspects to the art that I uncovered are interesting and help expand your perspective.

Salve! My name is Frank Pagani. In 2010, myself and 11 other students embarked on a journey that would take us to the epicenter of civilization, Rome, Italy. Italy shares so much with the world including religion, history, and art. As a finance student in the United States I had wondered how I would approach so much art, history and culture. Come on, numbers are not that interesting! Through our adventures in various Italian museums my group and I created this digital gallery to showcase our new found understanding of Madonna and Child art. With the advent of technology and blogs we are pleased to present to you this creation. I personally hope that you find the information presented useful and interesting.

My name is Jason Wilson, as a member of this group I researched the history and iconology of Madonna and Child paintings in an effort to help better understand them. My focus on the story and iconology of Madonna and Child paintings was a result of my desire to know what I am looking at when I view a painting. My theory is you cannot understand where you are until you understand where you have been, so it is necessary to examine the history of these paintings to understand them. Furthermore there is a great deal to be learned about these paintings by knowing why the artist decided to place a few seemingly random objects in the picture. I hope you enjoy, and maybe even learn something, from this brief history and explanation of these paintings.

Abbie Whalin, Frank Pagani, Anna Maharg, Jason Wilson