The Miraculous Milk of the Virgin (IoEA#28)

It’s time for icon of erotic art #28.

“The Miraculous Milk of the Virgin”[1] is a photograph by Bettina Rheims published in her collection I.N.R.I.. The photo was taken in March 1997 and exhibited at the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont.

Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont[2] is a French art gallery located in Paris. Currently at the gallery is an exhibition by Bettina Rheims, Just like a woman[3], from May 30 – July 16 2008. The exhibition is illuminated by texts by Serge Bramly.

The Miraculous Milk of the Virgin” is icon of erotic art number 28.

The photo is an obvious reference to the lactation miracles, also called Maria lactans (German page).

Maria Lactans painting, probably depicting Clairvaux

Unidentified “Maria lactans” painting depicting St. Bernard of Clairvaux?

From the blog “The hanged man” comes this comment:

Before they were suppressed by the decorous reforms of Trent, these images supported an astonishing range of piety. The medieval craving for physical contact with the divine took satisfaction in reports of lactation miracles.

While St. Bernard of Clairvaux knelt in prayer, a statue of Maria Lactans came to life and bestowed three drops of milk on his lips. St. Gertrude the Great nursed the Baby Jesus and Blessed Angela of Foligno nursed at Christ’s side. Lidwina of Schiedam saw Mary and her attendant virgins fill the sky with floods of their milk. In legend, suckling the Virgin or living saints brought healing and blessings.

Religious allegories celebrated lactation. Mary was the maiden in the garden who gave suck to the unicorn-Christ, the innocent victim hunted by men. Ecclesia, Sophia, Caritas, and sundry Virtues were shown as nursing mothers.[4]

Poking around on Google, I found the image above [5], can anyone ID?

A related IoEA was the Roman Charity one.

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