Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sedes Sapientiae

Saturnino Gatti (1463–1518)
Madonna con il Bambino
c. 1510
Oil and tempera on wood panel
175 x 92 cm
Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo, L’Aquila

Maestro della Madonna del Duomo di Spoleto
Madonna in trono con il Bambino
c. 1300 - 1350,
Wooden sculpture painted
Height 153cm
Chiesa di San Silvestro, L’Aquila

Anonymous Abruzzese artist of a Byzantine style
Madonna del latte
Second half of the Thirteenth century
Tempera on pine wood,
219 x 73 x 4 cm
Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo, L’Aquila

An exhibition in Rimini in Italy is coming to an end: The Glory Of Wisdom. Madonnas Of Abruzzo From The Middle Ages To The Renaissance. (La Sapienza Risplende. Madonne d’Abruzzo tra Medioevo e Rinascimento)

The above three Madonnas are from the exhibition. Originally in the Museum at L`Aquila, they were moved after the recent earthquake in the city of L’Aquila until the town and the Museum are rebuilt

"The Seat of Wisdom" or "The Throne of Wisdom" (sedes sapientiae) is identified with one of many devotional titles for Mary, the Mother of God.

There are a number of tags associated with the title:

In gremio matris fulget sapientia patris: In the lap of His Mother shines the wisdom of His Father.

Alternatively, the tag also reads In gremio Matris sedet Sapientia Patris: In Mary's womb sits the Wisdom of the Father

The first tag part of a Leonine hexameter occurs on a number of statues and paintings depicting the Sedes Sapientiae, particularly in the Abruzzo area

The latter is preferred by the Holy Father:

"The "mind of Christ", which through grace we have received, purifies us of false wisdom.

And this "mind of Christ" welcomes us through the Church and into the Church, taking us to the river of her living tradition.

The iconography that depicts Jesus-Wisdom in the womb of Mother Mary, symbol of the Church, expresses this very well: In gremio Matris sedet Sapientia Patris; in Mary's womb sits the Wisdom of the Father, that is, Christ. Remaining faithful to that Jesus who Mary offers us, to the Christ whom the Church presents to us, we can commit ourselves intensely to intellectual work, internally free from the temptation of pride and boasting always and only in the Lord."

Which is why Pope John Paul II in 2000 commissioned Jesuit artist Father Marko Ivan Rupnik SJ to make the icon, the Sedes Sapientiae, entrusted to students around the globe to inspire them to bring Christianity to life in their universities.

Father Marko Ivan Rupnik SJ
Sedes Sapientiae
Mosaic: marble and ceramic with gilt

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