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The Mary Underground: Subterranean Global Virgins

Matthew Milliner, Wheaton College

Thu, 4/4 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 002 Robertson Hall

Department of Religion; Program in Hellenic Studies; Center for the Study of Late Antiquity

Departing from Mary’s tomb outside Jerusalem, this presentation views Mary as a cipher for global Christianity, and looks for underground Marys as a corrective to overly exalted Virgins. If Mary has been depicted as “La Conquistadora” (the conqueror) in North America, this address sees her as “La Conquistada” (the conquered) as well. Challenging depth psychology, this Marian type visualizes the claim of the Magnificat: “He has put down the mighty from their seat and exalted the humble and the meek.”

Matthew Milliner is Professor of Art History at Wheaton College. He holds an M.A. & Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University, and an M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a seven-time appointee to the Curatorial Advisory Board of the United States Senate, and was awarded a Commonwealth fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He has written for publications ranging from The New York Times to First Things. His most recent book, Mother of the Lamb: The Story of a Global Icon (2022), tells the remarkable story of a Byzantine image that emerged from the losing side of the Crusades. Called the Virgin of the Passion in the East and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the West, the icon has expanded beyond its Byzantine origins to become one of the most pervasive images of our time. Milliner’s study both chronicles the story of the icon’s creation and emergence in the immediate aftermath of the Third Crusade as well as charting the icon’s modern reception, engaging religion, politics, contemporary art, and feminist concerns in the process.

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