The Virgin with the Child, Madonna Durán
Interpretations of images of the Virgin with her child in her arms are various and change over time, some being controversial even within different schools of Christianity. Some consider the Virgin Mary to represent learning, wisdom and mother love, while others believe she synthesises the characteristics of Mediterranean mother deities, bringing together elements which are shared by different representations and reconciling different doctrines.
During the 15th century painters on Northern Europe usually included the sacred books in their paintings of the Virgin Mary as a proclamation of Christ’s mission of redemption; the book is centre scene and draws the look of mother and child, symbolising the centrality of the divine Word to the Christian faith.
In popular practice, women asked the Virgin for protection, to become pregnant, for live births, successful delivery and enough breast-milk. They have used many amulets linked to the nearest local Virgin during their pregnancies.