Students and faculty from across our campus – theologians, art historians, actors and playwrights, musicologists, historians, and scholars of literature – explored the enduring relevance of Mary’s inspiration, while at the same time sought an enhanced understanding of the historic works in the Picturing Mary exhibition. This section of the website provides an overview our colleagues explorations and the auxiliary programming.

Student Perspectives: Mary in the Art of Modern and Old Masters

In fall 2014, art history seniors and juniors worked together to co-curate an online exhibition featuring a selection of masterworks that honor or were inspired by Mary. The prints, drawings, and watercolors that the students chose were highly varied. They ranged from a poignantly intimate rendering of the Holy Family from the Counter-Reformation to visceral portrayals of grief and suffering after WWI that recall images of the Pietà and Our Lady of Mercy. This student-curated exhibition – Student Perspectives: Mary in the Art of Modern and Old Masters – offers examples of some of the vital and protean ways that Mary has inspired both artists and their viewers across time. More Info >

TRS Lecture Series

The School of Theology and Religious Studies presented a series of lectures in the spring semester exploring themes of the exhibit. This was part of a larger NMWA series, but no other university has as many contributing faculty as CUA. More Info >

Drama Adaptations

The Department of Drama adapted several short pieces about the Virgin Mary from the 15th-century Wakefield Corpus Christi Plays, a Middle English cycle of 48 mystery pageants that cover sacred history from creation to the Day of Judgment. This play will depict Joseph as he comes to ponder the simultaneously miraculous and perplexing news that the Virgin Mary is to bear the Son of God. The modern adaptations ran April 14-15. More info can be found on the blog, maintained by the dramaturg (consultant to the production), Catherine Ichniowski-Ritter. More Info >

Mary Pilgrimage Project

Last fall 2014, students in a seminar on the Cult of Saints studied the veneration of Mary and other holy men and women from Early Christianity through the Middle Ages in history, culture, and theology; and they integrated these studies with their own experience by developing a modern, digitally accessible “Pilgrim’s Guide & Map” to places and artworks honoring Mary in Washington, D.C today. For this collaborative handbook, students compiled studies of the history, symbolism, artistic qualities and devotional significance of many beautiful Marian sites, including The Holy Rosary Church on Third Street NW, the Mary Garden on the grounds of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in the main church of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. View the Pilgrim’s Guide & Map >

Honors Seminar and Other Courses

This Spring 2015, students in the University Honors Program are researched key works in the exhibit as part of a new interdisciplinary course on Mary. Art history majors and non-majors studied the art and iconography of Mary through two special courses: one an in-depth analysis of paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings devoted Mary from the Byzantine period through the Nineteenth Century in the National Gallery of Art’s permanent collection and the National Museum of Women in the Art’s exhibition; the other course is traced the development of Mary’s cult in the context of heroic, virtuous, and holy women from Mary’s lifetime to the modern day in relation to the religious, political, and social forces that surrounded Mary’s recognition as both a potent intercessor and as a focal subject in Christian art. More Info >

Contact Us

For additional information regarding this website or any of the associated programs please contact us.

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