Listers, our Blessed Mother nursing the infant Christ has a long, rich, and multifaceted history within Sacred Art. Known by many names – Maria de la Leche, Maria Lactans, Nursing Madonna – the art arguably challenges certain modern Western sensibilities.1 More information and images may be found at the La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto Facebook Page and the Fisheaters Maria Lactans Gallery.

 

Maria de le Leche & Maria Lactans

 

"LA VIRGEN DE LA LECHE at the Letania de Maria: Marian Devotees of Rizal Exhibit  at SM City Taytay September 22-28 2013. Photo courtesy of Rodney Torres. Image under the care of Randy Fernandez." - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

“LA VIRGEN DE LA LECHE at the Letania de Maria: Marian Devotees of Rizal Exhibit at SM City Taytay September 22-28 2013. Photo courtesy of Rodney Torres. Image under the care of Randy Fernandez.” – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

 

Parish of St. Sebastian, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines — at San Sebastian Parish Church Lumban Laguna. h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto.

Parish of St. Sebastian, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines — at San Sebastian Parish Church Lumban Laguna. h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto.

 

h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

 

"AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY San Juan de Dios Hospital Pasay city, Metro Manila  August 17, 2012" - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group

“AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY
San Juan de Dios Hospital
Pasay city, Metro Manila
August 17, 2012″ – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group

 

"AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY San Juan de Dios Hospital Pasay city, Metro Manila  August 17, 2012" - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group

“AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY
San Juan de Dios Hospital
Pasay city, Metro Manila
August 17, 2012″ – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group

 

"6th Veritas Grand Marian Exhibit SM Mall of Asia, Pasay city November 7-29, 2011" - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

“6th Veritas Grand Marian Exhibit SM Mall of Asia, Pasay city November 7-29, 2011″ – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

 

Artist: Circle of Gil de Siloe   Title: Virgin of the Milk (Virgen de la leche)   Date:  c. 1500   Medium: Polychromed wood  h/t The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Artist: Circle of Gil de Siloe
Title: Virgin of the Milk (Virgen de la leche)
Date: c. 1500
Medium: Polychromed wood
h/t The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

 

Friesach, Austria, c. 1230.

Friesach, Austria, c. 1230.

 

"Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Leonard and Peter," c. 1270.

“Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Leonard and Peter,” c. 1270.

 

Maria Lactans, France late 14th century.

Maria Lactans, France late 14th century.

 

Taddeo di Bartolo, c. 1395.

Taddeo di Bartolo, c. 1395.

 

Brussel Hours, see http://www.faksimile.de/international/editions/productdetail.php?we_objectID=358.

Brussel Hours, see http://www.faksimile.de/international/editions/productdetail.php?we_objectID=358.

 

"The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen," about 1440, Follower of Robert Campin. See http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/follower-of-robert-campin-the-virgin-and-child-before-a-firescreen.

“The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen,” about 1440, Follower of Robert Campin. See http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/follower-of-robert-campin-the-virgin-and-child-before-a-firescreen.

 

Mary and Child - detail by Gerard David, 1490

Mary and Child – detail by Gerard David, 1490

 

Maria Lactans, Melchior Binder,  Bernhard-Maria-Altar (Lactatio-Altar), 1608.

Maria Lactans, Melchior Binder, Bernhard-Maria-Altar (Lactatio-Altar), 1608. via Wiki-Commons, Andreas Praefcke

 

Holy Family. 1714. oil on panel. 36 × 29 cm. Amsterdam, Museum Amstelkring.

Holy Family. 1714. oil on panel. 36 × 29 cm. Amsterdam, Museum Amstelkring.

 

Amesbury Psalter, 13th c., h/t Fisheaters.com

Amesbury Psalter, 13th c., h/t Fisheaters.com

 

Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of Milk and Good Birth). This statue, ca. A.D. 1600-1620, is kept in the shrine devoted to Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto in St. Augustine, Florida -- the first Marian shrine in the United States. h/t Fisheaters.com

Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of Milk and Good Birth). This statue, ca. A.D. 1600-1620, is kept in the shrine devoted to Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto in St. Augustine, Florida — the first Marian shrine in the United States. h/t Fisheaters.com

 

The Holy Family, the Workshop of Rembrandt, 1608. h/t Fisheaters.com

The Holy Family, the Workshop of Rembrandt, 1608. h/t Fisheaters.com

 

"The Miraculous Lactation of St. Bernard." This painting depicts the spiritual nourishing of St. Bernard by the milk of Our Lady, based on this legendary mystical experience: Bernard prayed before a statue of the Madonna, asking her, "Show yourself a mother" ("Monstra te esse Matrem"). The statue came to life and and squirted milk from the breast onto the Saint's lips. Artist: Alonso Cano, A.D. 1650 h/t Fisheasters.com

“The Miraculous Lactation of St. Bernard.” This painting depicts the spiritual nourishing of St. Bernard by the milk of Our Lady, based on this legendary mystical experience: Bernard prayed before a statue of the Madonna, asking her, “Show yourself a mother” (“Monstra te esse Matrem”). The statue came to life and and squirted milk from the breast onto the Saint’s lips. Artist: Alonso Cano, A.D. 1650 h/t Fisheasters.com 

  1. Sexualization & Puritanism: The Maria Lactans art arguably causes controversy due to two major themes in the Western world. The first is the modern notion or obsession of sexuality, which views the body as a means to the end of gratification. The second is puritanism, which categorically eschews nudity. Both pivot on the same error – the inability to view the human body outside the scope of sexual gratification. A woman’s breast is a prime example. The modern notion of the breast as a source of sexual gratification alone has reached a point that our culture esteems the perfect breast to be the fake breast. In contradistinction, the use of Mary’s breast in Maria Lactans stands as a sign of life, nourishment, and maternity. Particularly with Mother Mary, her life-giving milk nourished our Savior, who in turn would give his life-giving blood over for all humanity. []