Madonna del Mare Nostrum in the book ‘Compassionism’

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This iconic, modern Madonna is standing with great dignity; she has no fear. Her thermal emergency blanket alludes to many other mothers along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. In that way she is contemporary. At the same time, she is the timeless mother who carries the promise of the future in her arms. She has become a question: Will you receive us in your heart?

You look at this mother and child and you understand how little we know. In our ignorance we struggle to react to what happens in the world and face its manifest challenges. She rises from the turbulent waters of the Mediterranean, but she does not look insignificant, sick, dirty, exhausted or malnourished. Not at all destitute.

Mother and child are coated with dignity. The cloak of care, the mantle of love, covers them in the form of a rescue blanket, the first sign of care and attention. The foil clothes them and keeps them warm, but there is more to it. The colors indicate a godly presence, perhaps even a divine origin. As if the Father himself is present in the image.

The Madonna looks straight at you yet further than where you are. She pierces you with her gaze. Her expression has different accents every time you look at her: she survives, she is vigilant and determined, she protects, she accuses, but primarily abides. The child has a wait-and-see look on his little face, his big toe gives away the tension he experiences.

Mother and child are certainly not afraid. They are loved. Being covered with the cloak of love is the core of their dignity, which is not dependent on a rescue blanket or on our reaction to their presence. It grants them self-respect, serenity, an inner royal demeanor. This kind of love expels all fear.

She is collected and calm. It is an honor to receive her.


Hansa Versteeg Madonna del Mare Nostrum, Cloak of Care, 2017, oil on canvas 125 x 125 cm


This art contemplation by Anik√≥ is published in the book ‘Compassionism’. The book, as well as high quality reproductions and some originals are available via the website of the artist: