I’m not at all a political person but the recent events in Iran struck me particularly the senseless death of a young woman named Neda. A common Persian name, Neda means “divine message, voice, or calling.” I was reminded that the museum has a great collection of art from Iran including this object called “Vase in form of mother and child” approx. 1100–1200.
I don’t know much about this vase but it reminds me of Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pieta, his final sculpture until his death in 1564, in which he revisited the theme of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of the dead Christ. It was produced at a time when Michelangelo was thinking about his own mortality and his spirituality was also growing. When viewing the sculpture from certain angles, it looks as if Jesus is holding Mary up with his back, instead of Mary cradling Jesus. It is said that Michelangelo carefully crafted it this way to represent how Jesus’s spirit might actually have been comforting Mary in her loss. Compared to the museum’s vase, I like both objects for their utter simplicity and yet speaks volumes. Somewhere in Iran, a mother is also grieving for her child. In times like these, sometimes we turn to art to give us comfort and I certainly hope these objects provide that.
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