Artistic portrayals of Maria Lactans get a shout out from the Vatican (Incidentally, a suitable image of Maria Lactans was the most difficult one to locate when we were putting our banner together.) :
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The loving, tender images of Mary breast-feeding the baby Jesus need an artistic and spiritual rehabilitation, said the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
A vast iconography of traditional Christian art has been "censored by the modern age" because images depicting Our Lady's naked breast for her child were deemed too "unseemly," the paper said June 19.
Artists began depicting a fully clothed nursing Mary in sacred art in an attempt to make her seem less "carnal," but the depictions unfortunately also diminished her human, loving and tender side "that touches the hearts and faith of the devout," the newspaper said . . . .
Salesian Father Enrico dal Covolo, a professor of classic and Christian literature at the Pontifical Salesian University, said in his commentary that a nursing Mary represents an interesting paradox: "He who gives nourishment to all things, Mary included, now lets himself be nourished by her.
"The Virgin Mary who nurses her son Jesus is one of the most eloquent signs that the word of God truly and undoubtedly became flesh," he wrote. And it was only by becoming fully human that the Son of God could save humanity from sin and death, the priest wrote.
Scaraffia said that when the early Christian theologians wrote about and artists represented Our Lady breast-feeding they were showing "concrete proof" of God's incarnation.
"Jesus was a baby like all others. ... His divinity does not exclude his humanity," she wrote . . . .
She said the sacred image of Mary nursing her child is "an image so concrete and loving" that it recalls her offering her body for nourishment and giving herself completely to her son as he offers his body and blood in the Eucharist and gave himself completely for others with his death and resurrection.
HT: Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog