Taking ‘Madonna and Child’ to the street

by Gloria Locke, Staff Writer 756 views0

The Madonna & Child are familiar visuals during the holiday season from greeting cards to Christmas plays and television classics such as “A Charlie Brown Christmas” all depicting the Biblical declaration:

“For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: you will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

Virgin & Child by Lorelle Miller
“Virgin and Child” by Lorelle Miller

Nothing quite compares to the uniqueness of the Madonna & Child created in street painting, a classic art form.

Artist, Lorelle Miller, embraces the genre and is among the elect when it comes to American street painters. Residing in Santa Clarita for over 20 years, Miller has travelled the globe in various chalk art festivals while teaching art through SCV Arts, the College of the Canyons Community Service workshops, senior complexes, and other art education programs until the recent budget cuts.

Yet, Miller continues to uphold the standard set by 16th century street painters in her “Virgin & Child” works.

“I think I’m drawn to that, no pun intended, because I love the sensitivity of the mother and child,” explains Miller.

The Italian Madonnari were itinerant artists, many of whom created artwork for the huge cathedrals, most often depicting the Madonna. When the work was completed, these artists needed to find another way to make a living. Replicas from the church art were often recreated on the pavement with pastels and chalk.

For the Madonnari and for Miller, a universal concept transcends the visual imagery gracefully and skillfully detailed in the artwork. As the message of Christmas is shared in various visual art forms, the essence rings in glad tidings and good news.

“It’s really about love. That’s all it ever is … really. When it distills down through all the struggle, through everything, it’s about that. There’s nothing more to say,” she concludes with heartfelt laughter.

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