Amerigo Tot (1909-1984)
Madonna of Csurgo (Hungary)
Collection of Modern Religious Art, Inv. 23610

General Description

The Madonna, crouching, is shrouded and hidden behind layers of fabric and drapery. Only her face and hands are visible. The face marks both attention and absorption, and her hands are placed on the child’s body in a gesture of tender protection. It could also be interpreted as a show-and-tell gesture, presenting and giving away rather than preventing the child from pursuing his mission. In fact, the child, as his sturdy body indicates, is a Man-Child, and more important, his raised right hand and overall stance identify him as the Man-Christ, divine and victorious. He is emerging from the protective shell of his mother’s clothes as if he were leaving her womb or his tomb. The powerful movement of emerging from darkness and liberating himself from the heavy weight of human condition defines this child as the victor over evil and death. The gesture of his right arm and hand, which is a gesture of blessing and new life, is also the signature of his redeeming power. Indeed, the position of his fingers clustered in “threes” and “twos” identifies this child as the one of the Trinity (the three fingers standing for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and God-Man (the two fingers signifying the two natures, human and divine, in Christ).

The artist, Amerigo Tot, was born in Fehervarcsurgo (Hungary) in 1909 and died in Rome in 1984. The great Hungarian artist and sculptor was the product of a variety of influential and famous encounters. He received his training as a sculptor at the famous Bauhaus in Dessau (Germany) in the early 1930s, where he met Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy. Tot perfected his art working in Aristide Maillol’s studio in Paris. In the wake of these divergent artistic encounters, Tot discovered the many faces of creativity and practiced a variety of styles. The sculpture dedicated to the Madonna of Csurgo is inspired by the archaic and earth-bound strength and weightiness of Roman and early Renaissance art.

For more information:

Consult the exhibit catalog: The Mother of God: Art Celebrates Mary, pp. 136-137.

The Mary Page publishes several articles on this theme, Mother and Child. See, for example, the section, Mother of God, Theotokos:

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