Paula Chamlee - Madonnina

Paula Chamlee - Madonnina

45.00 60.00

Photographs by Paula Chamlee

Foreword by Steven Maklansky

Essay by Giuliana Bianchi Caleri

Translation by Laura Wittman

Hardbound Edition of 2900 Copies
50 reproductions, 96 pages
Printed in 600-line screen quadtone


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While photographing throughout Tuscany in 2000 and 2001, Paula Chamlee found herself drawn to the great beauty, variety, and extraordinary craftsmanship of the Madonnina shrines that can be found everywhere in Tuscany. Throughout the countryside and in towns and villages, these lovingly crafted personal shrines to the Virgin Mary bear witness to a deep-seated and popular faith in the Holy Virgin and the humanity she embodies. With a tradition dating back to antiquity, these cultural and religious objects continue to be created even today as protection for personal property, homes and their inhabitants.

Whether sophisticated or primitive in design, the shrines represent a spirit of devotion expressed quietly and simply. They hold profound significance for a great number of the Italian people.

Although they can easily be overlooked by the casual traveler, these small shrines are readily found along roadsides, among fields, at intersections and property lines, set in the walls of houses and barns, and even in the woods as well as other unusual locations. Chamlee discovered one in the midst of a marble quarry beside a busy pathway cleared for giant marble-moving machines.

Paula Chamlee' sensitive portrayal of Le Madonnine in their variety and beauty are complemented by an informative essay by the Italian scholar Giuliana Bianchi Caleri, who writes about the history and tradition of the Madonna shrines in Italy. In a foreword, photography curator Steven Maklansky draws insightful connections between photography, religion, and Chamlee' intimate visual records of one of the most widely recognized of all religious icons.

The superb reproductions of the photographs, in 600-line screen quadtone, printed on heavy cover stock, are at the limits of what is technically possible in photographic reproduction.