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Inspired Through Art: Mary, Queen of Heaven and the Blessed Trinity
Master of the St. Lucy Legend, c. 1485/1500 "The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity…even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity,” teaches the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Par. 260) The one creature who most uniquely entered into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity was the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. From the moment of her Immaculate Conception to her Assumption and Coronation as Queen of Heaven, Mary was the pure and sinless dwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. An exquisite 15th century painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, titled Mary, Queen of Heaven, invites us to contemplate the unique and intimate relationship of the Mother of God to the Blessed Trinity. The beautiful image also invites us to imitate Mary, so we may grow in communion with each of the Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity as she did. Queen of Heaven, Rejoice! Alleluia! One of the traditional Marian antiphons for the Easter season is the beautiful exclamation, Queen of Heaven, Rejoice! Alleluia! In this large panel painting we have the perfect image to accompany that Easter hymn of praise to Mary. For we see the Blessed Virgin Mary at the center of the composition, clothed in gold trimmed robes of red and dark blue. Mary’s serene oval face is framed by delicate locks of wavy hair, and her hands are folded in a gesture of prayer and contemplation of the mystery of her divine Son. The panel is the work of an artist known simply as the Master of the Saint Lucy Legend, because his most famous work—an altarpiece from 1480—showed episodes from the life of Saint Lucy. In this masterpiece, the artist captures three aspects of Marian theology in a single painting of intense color, remarkable movement, and ornate texture: first, the Assumption of Mary; second, her Immaculate Conception signified by the crescent moon under her feet; and third, her Coronation as Queen of Heaven.