Crowning the Queen

Happy feast day! Today is the feast day of the Queenship of Mary. And so, in honor of this day, I would like to present to you this gorgeous artwork of the Coronation of Mary, which was made by the Cusco art school in Peru.

The Coronation of the Virgin, c. 18th century. Palacio Arzobispal, Cusco, Peru. Via
The Coronation of the Virgin, c. 18th century. Palacio Arzobispal, Cusco, Peru.

This is a typical depiction of the Coronation: angels bring Mary up to Heaven and she is greeted by the entire Holy Trinity and crowned with glory. Mary crosses her arms humbly over her breast, smiling and positively radiating goodness as she is crowned.

Yet, the Cusco art school makes this particular artwork special from the gold embellishments and intricate patterns on the clothing. This is sort of embellishing in Cusco artworks is common: I’ve featured several artworks from the Cusco art school that have these sort of embellishments, such as this artwork of the Visitation or of this artwork of the Holy Family. Yet, those artworks seem positively drab compared to the splendor of this one. The Cusco art school had a very powerful devotion to Our Lady, and when they had a chance to honor her through their art, they spared no expense and tended to go all out.

After all, as the psalm goes, the Queen is arrayed in gold!

While Mary indeed is the focus of the artwork, the Holy Trinity is also magnificently depicted in an overwhelmingly glorious way. God the Father carries a scepter and puts His Foot on a globe, indicating that He is the Master of all, and not to be trifled with! Christ shoulders His Cross with one arm, as a reminder of the sacrifice that He bore for all of us, and crowns Mary in the other. And the Holy Spirit oversees and glorifies everything. So, yes, Mary definitely gets the honor in this picture! But the Holy Trinity, which is united in Heaven, is also very much glorified in a very startling way.

Over and over again in the Old Testament in the pages of the prophets, we hear about how God is waiting for His Bride, which is commonly understood as the Church by many biblical scholars. Yet, in these artworks, the reality of that Bride is understood in a startling new way. For Mary is not just Mary, though she is that too! Still, Mary also represents the Church and the glorious bride of God. She is the Mother of God, the one who said yes to Christ, even before the world could even understand who the Christ would be. She was the one who stood by Him at the Cross, through what was probably the darkest moment of the Church. And now she is reunited with God, who reigns forever in glory.

All those prophecies about the Bride are fulfilled, both in the person of Mary and of the Church. And thus we honor Mary and pray for the Church, that the Church may be united to Christ in the same glorious way. And we pray that we too may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Virgo Maria, Regina Caeli, ora pro nobis!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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