TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1696, Venezia, d. 1770, Madrid)

The Immaculate Conception

Oil on canvas, 279 x 152 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

In an awe-inspiring, powerful manifestation, the Virgin Mary hovers in the skies, atop a globe, and in front of a yellow background. Above her the dove appears, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. The palm tree in the foreground is a symbol of Mary's victory and superiority over evil in the world, the snake under her feet stands for original sin. The mirror, on the other hand, illustrates the belief that she is completely without blemish and that she herself is the mirror of all virtues. The crescent moon refers to the Woman of the Apocalypse in St John's Gospel and is also a symbol of chastity.