The Veiled Virgin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Veiled Virgin
Veiled virgin.jpg
Artist Giovanni Strazza
Year year unknown
Type Carrara marble
Dimensions 48 cm (19 in)
Location Presentation Convent, St. John's

The Veiled Virgin is a Carrara marble statue carved in Rome by Italian sculptor Giovanni Strazza (1815–1878),[1] depicting the bust of a veiled Virgin Mary. The exact date of the statue's completion is unknown, but it was probably in the early 1850s.[citation needed]

The veil gives the appearance of being translucent, but in fact is carved of marble. The technique is similar to Giuseppe Sanmartino's 1753 statue of the Veiled Christ in the Cappella Sansevero in Naples.

The statue was transported to Newfoundland in 1856, as recorded on December 4 in the diary of Bishop John Thomas Mullock:

Received safely from Rome, a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in marble, by Strazza. The face is veiled, and the figure and features are all seen. It is a perfect gem of art.

The Veiled Virgin was then kept at the Episcopal Palace next to the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St. John's until 1862, when Bishop Mullock presented it to Mother Mary Magdalene O'Shaughnessy, the Superior of Presentation Convent. The bust has since remained under the care of Presentation Sisters, in Cathedral Square, St. John's.

In the context of the Risorgimento, the Veiled Virgin was intended to symbolize Italy.

Marble busts of veiled women were a popular theme among Strazza's contemporaries, the most important of whom were Pietro Rossi and Raffaelle Monti.


  1. ^ Willard, Ashton Rollins (1902). History of Modern Italian Art (2 ed.). Longmans, Green & Co. p. 132.