Get local news delivered straight to your phone
We can't make City Paper without you
Who was the Virgin Mary? The answer depends on who you ask and when they lived. The National Museum of Women in the Arts’ latest exhibition suggests several possible identities for the world’s most famous mother. In six sections, 60 Renaissance- and Baroque-era paintings borrowed from the Vatican Museums and Uffizi Gallery depict the Virgin Mary in her most-referenced roles. Paintings by Orsola Maddalena Caccia (a nun who operated a painting studio from her convent in northern Italy), Sofonisba Anguissola, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Elisabetta Sirani show what female artists thought of Mary and how they translated her perceived character into strokes on a canvas. Other featured artists include Michelangelo, Fra Filippo Lippi (whose “Madonna col Bambino” is pictured), Sandro Botticelli, Pontormo, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. As if inspired by the chorus of Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch,” Mary is shown as a cousin, a wife, a daughter, a mourning mother, a legendary biblical protagonist, a revered cultural icon, and a liaison between heaven and Earth. The exhibition is on view Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m., to April 12 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. $8–$10. (202) 783-5000. nmwa.org.