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Organized as part of the World Youth Days Krakow 2016 and the Jubilee of Mercy celebrated at the same time in the Catholic Church, the exhibition presents nearly 100 works, mainly from Italian collections, whose leading theme is Mary the Mother of Mercy. It features works by prominent Italian, French, Dutch and German artists such as Donatello, Mantegna, who were active from the 14th to the 18th century.
The visitors can see images of the Virgin Mary in her protective mantle, Virgin Mary revealing her breast, and other popular depictions, which in the Middle Ages and the modern era were frequently interpreted as the representation of the idea of Our Lady's mercy – such as Pietà or the Virgin Mary nursing the Child.
The exhibition catalogue includes essays by eminent Bible scholars, theologians and art historians who present the development of the idea of Our Lady of Mercy in theology, cultural practices of the Church, religious music and iconography. This provides the readers with a comprehensive compendium, thoroughly acquainting them with the Matris Misericordiae iconography. The main iconographic types from the catalogue are also presented in the exhibition visitor's guide, and – in a very abbreviated form – in the texts accompanying the exhibition.
The display is the only official exhibition of art held as part of the Wold Youth Days Krakow 2016. It is organized by the National Museum in Krakow in cooperation with the Vatican John Paul II Foundation for Youth. The Krakow exhibition constitutes a continuation of religious art presentations held on the occasions of the World Youth Days in prestigious museums in the cities which host these gatherings (Colorado History Museum in Denver, Metropolitan Museum in Manila, Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto or Museo del Prado in Madrid).
Curators: Prof. Piotr Krasny, Prof. Giovanni Morello