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Surrounded by the deep blue, lapis lazuli background of the gold frame, the silver Virgin Mary, crowned as Queen of Heaven, projects from the background in an elegant swirl of drapery. She stands on a globe, symbol of her dominion with Christ. Around her head glow the twelve stars of Saint John the Evangelist's apocalyptic vision. Under her feet she tramples a snake, understood as a sign of the Immaculate Conception. Cherub heads rise in low relief from the arabesques of clouds.

An exuberant array of silver figurative, floral, and patterned elements enlivens the gilt bronze frame's complex shape, giving it a jewel-like splendor. In the central medallion, the contrast of the matte background with the highly polished surfaces of the Virgin and the globe ensure that the relief scene equals the decorative impact of the ornate frame. The proliferation of a variety of small-scale decorative motifs; the contrasts in texture, surface, and shape; and the flowing lines in this work are characteristics of the florid late Rococo in Italy.

Francesco Natale Juvara, one of the finest makers of liturgical metalwork in Sicily, probably designed this wall plaque to decorate a chapel.


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