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Word Count: 786
The Fogg Museums icon The Virgin and Child captures and venerates the mystery of the Madonna in a way that powerfully awes even the modern viewer The work entrances the viewer with mesmeric textures and shapes while removing him from the holy and unknowable religious space it creates The resulting tension creates a powerful and dynamic contradiction that engulfs the viewer and evokes the eternal devotional mystery Immediately upon encountering the icon The Virgins eyes come piercingly to the fore Exactly centered under a protruding gilded arch and spanning the vertical axis the eyes are the center of sets of inter-linked spirals The intensity of the frank and direct gaze must be met The Virgins face is created from broad and distinct strokes recalling the organic textures of Van Gogh and contrasting with the more geometric and gilded shapes of her clothing The brushwork moves through supremely controlled and ever tightening spirals of changing direction from the dark curve of the jaw to the rose colored center of the cheek to the dark and barely visible center of the eye Figure 2 Feature 1 The motion thus created evokes a mesmerists disk a hypnotic spinning spiral The rendering of the shadows around her eye hints at the kohl rimmed eyes of an Egyptian hieroglyph an ancient and mysterious goddess Figure 2 Feature 2 Marys power her steady gaze is unquestionable The shapes of the piece serve to emphasize her enigmatic power The clothing is composed of angular and geometrically gilded polygons The sharp lines clearly show gravity tension and the folding nature of the cloth Figure 2 Feature 3 Conversely the flesh is smooth and flowing free from physical forces sacred Her face is at the apex of the ungilded space and is surrounded by an approximately 38 inch raised golden arch Figure 1 Feature 1 She is the spatial center of a field of golden energy The virgins long hands are almost abstracted and
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