“Some years ago, certain travelers saw in Barri, Italy, a statue of the Madonna, arrayed in a flounced pink skirt over a swelling crinoline! Pious pilgrims who may be anxious to examine the regulation wardrobe of their God’s mother, may do so by going to Southern Italy, Spain, and Catholic North and South America. The Madonna of Barri must still be there – between two vineyards and a locanda, (gin-shop).
When last seen, a half-successful attempt had been made to clothe the infant Jesus; they had covered his legs with a pair of dirty, scollop-edged pantaloons. An English traveler having presented the “Mediatrix” with a green silk parasol, the grateful population of the contadini, accompanied by the village-priest, went in procession to the spot. They managed to stick the sunshade, opened, between the infant’s back and the arm of the Virgin which embraced him.
The scene and ceremony were both solemn and highly refreshing to our religious feelings. For there stood the image of the goddess in its niche, surrounded with a row of ever-burning lamps, the flames of which, flickering in the breeze, infect God’s pure air with an offensive smell of olive oil. The Mother and Son truly represent the two most conspicuous idols of Monotheistic Christianity! For a companion to the idol of the poor contadini of Barri, go to the rich city of Rio Janeiro.
In the Church of the Duomo del Candelaria, in a long hall running along one side of the church, there might be seen, a few years ago, another Madonna. Along the walls of the hall there is a line of saints, each standing on a contribution-box, which thus forms a fit pedestal. In the centre of this line, under a gorgeously rich canopy of blue silk, is exhibited the Virgin Mary leaning on the arm of Christ.
“Our Lady” is arrayed in a very décolleté blue satin dress with short sleeves, showing, to great advantage, a snow-white, exquisitely-moulded neck, shoulders, and arms. The skirt equally of blue satin with an overskirt of rich lace and gauze puffs, is as short as that of a ballet-dancer; hardly reaching the knee, it exhibits a pair of finely-shaped legs covered with flesh-colored silk tights, and blue satin French boots, with very high red heels! The blonde hair of this “Mother of God” is arranged in the latest fashion, with a voluminous chignon and curls. As she leans on her Son’s arm, her face is lovingly turned toward her Only-Begotten, whose dress and attitude are equally worthy of admiration.
Christ wears an evening dress-coat, with swallow-tail, black trousers, and low-cut white vest; varnished boots, and white kid gloves, over one of which sparkles a rich diamond ring, worth many thousands, we must suppose – a precious Brazilian jewel. Above this body of modern Portuguese dandy, is a head with the hair parted in the middle; a sad and solemn face, and eyes whose patient look seems to reflect all the bitterness of this last insult, flung at the majesty of the Crucified.”
H. P. Blavatsky