Catholics/A pregnant teenage Mary


I have seen a lot of Christian art and Mary the mother of Jesus is always portrayed as a young slim beautiful woman around the age of 20 or so. Why is she never portrayed as a pregnant teenager? Doesn't this seem to be the historical Mary?

It is not true that artwork has never depicted Mary as pregnant.  The Madonna del Parto is a famous depiction of a pregnant Madonna. The painting is located now at Museo della Madonna del Parto in Monterchi.

The painting however is as expected is devotional and thus "whitewashed."  I am also not aware of many paintings such as this.  I think what you want to know is why devotional artwork tends to be whitewashed and why there aren't many paintings depicting pregnant Madonnas.  

While I have no definitive answer, what I can suggest is that it is out of reverence for God and the saints.  Images of the saints or Jesus tend to be "clean" that is they don't show the undignified aspects of our humanity.  Again, I think this is simply out of respect and reverence.  

The purpose of devotional artwork is to serve as an aid in prayer and inspire devotion, not necessarily depict history as it unfolded.  Hence, another answer to your question is that painting a "historical" Mary would run contrary to the purpose of the artwork.  


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Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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