Madonna, Siena Cathedral
By Catriona Mann

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Year
1993
Media
Mixed Media and Collage
Subject Matter
Urban and Architectural
Reg. Number
P360
Size
72 x 51 cm

The Madonna of the title refers to the icon of the Virgin and Child depicted at the centre of this piece. Other pictorial elements include six candles set in candlesticks in the foreground and a background consisting of an arch, a vaulted roof and a horizontal bar which suggests the top of an altar. Apart from the white of the candles and 'altar', the dominant colours are purple and gold, with metallic gold paint used in the haloes of mother and child and repeated in the vaulted roof and the pattern on the arch.
There is a sense of flattened perspective, as with a telephoto lens, giving the piece the two-dimensional, impressionistic feel of a collage. Scale is the main depth cue: the 'large' candles appear to be in the foreground, the painting of Madonna and child at the back, either viewed through an arch or in an alcove. The suspended metallic object, which may be a lantern or censer, obscures part of the Madonna painting.

Mann says of her work that it uses "a representational and semi-abstract visual language, sometimes including a message to decipher. All subject matter - architectural, still life, flowers, sea and landscape - are treated in the same way, starting with a vague idea which grows organically, often being deconstructed and then reconstructed into a more abstract shape".

Mann works in water based paint and pencils on paper, the versatility of which allows her to make broad as well as linear marks. She uses a representational and semi abstract visual language, sometimes including a message to decipher. All subject matter — architecture, still-life, flowers, sea and landscape are treated in the same way, starting with a vague idea which grows organically, often being deconstructed and then reconstructed into a more abstract shape.She never knows what the finished work will be when she starts, although flowers tend to dictate the design as they all have their own unique characters.

Born in London in 1955, Catriona Mann graduated with an MA (Hons) in Fine Art from the University of Edinburgh in 1979. In 1986, having studied for a LL.B, also at Edinburgh, she was elected as a professional member of the Scottish Society of Women Artists in 1986 (now S.A.A.C). Her work has since been exhibited around the UK and is held in numerous collections in Scotland. She works both as a solicitor and as a practising artist, and draws much of her inspiration from her visits to Italy.

With thanks to the Whitehouse Gallery for information about this artist

Catriona Mann's page on the RSW website

Art in Healthcare's blog entry about Catriona Mann


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