Giovanni Baglione said that the unveiling of this painting “caused the common people to make a great cackle over it.” The uproar was not surprising. The Virgin Mary, like her admiring pilgrims, is barefoot. The doorway or niche is not an exalted cumulus or bevy of putti, but a partly decrepit wall of flaking brick is visible. Only the merest halo sanctifies her and the baby. While beautiful, the Virgin Mary could be any woman, emerging from the night shadows. Like many of Caravaggio’s Roman paintings the scene is a moment where everyday common man or woman encounters the divine, whose appearance is also not unlike that of a common man or woman.
paraphrase of Caravaggio’s Madonna di Loreto Wikipedia entry
There is something more here than photoshopping
away some celebrity’s fat or age lines.
The art of the craft is knowing what defines
ordinary and divine. And not stopping
at the borderline, the edge. And not cropping
away the elements from beyond. Designs
craft never calculates, art never refines,
the hand meets rising, eyes meet without dropping.
Could anyone create this image today?
Could any eyes, I mean any inside eyes,
the eyes of somebody’s mind, somebody’s heart,
meet the divine inside and not drop away?
Could any hand today rise and seize that prize?
We are barefoot in shadows desperate for art.