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Coronation of the Virgin

Mar 17, 2017

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the Coronation of the Virgin or Coronation of Mary is a subject in Christian art, especially popular in Italy in the 13th to 15th centuries, but continuing in popularity until the 18th century and beyond. Christ, sometimes accompanied by God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, places a crown on the head of Mary as Queen of Heaven. In early versions the setting is a Heavenimagined as an earthly court, staffed by saints and angels; in later versions Heaven is more often seen as in the sky, with the figures seated on clouds. The subject is also notable as one where the whole Christian Trinity is often shown together, sometimes in unusual ways. Although crowned Virgins may be seen in Orthodox Christian icons, the coronation by the deity is not. Mary is sometimes shown, in both Eastern and Western Christian art, being crowned by one or two angels, but this is considered a different subject.


The subject became common as part of a general increase in devotion to Mary in the Early Gothic period, and is one of the commonest subjects in surviving 14th-century Italian panel paintings, mostly made to go on a side-altar in a church. The great majority of Roman Catholic churches had (and have) a side-altar or "Lady chapel" dedicated to Mary. The subject is still often enacted in rituals or popular pageants called May crownings, although the crowning is performed by human figures.


The belief in Mary as Queen of Heaven obtained the papal sanction of Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam (English: Queenship of Mary in Heaven) of October 11, 1954.It is also the fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast every August 22, where it replaced the former octave of the Assumption of Mary in 1969, a move made by Pope Paul VI. The feast was formerly celebrated on May 31, at the end of the Marian month, where the present general calendar now commemorates the Feast of the Visitation. In addition, there are Canonical coronations authorized by the Pope which are given to specific Marian images venerated in a particular place.