The Madonna of Childbirth
The 15th century church of Sant' Agostino is home to one of the most venerated statues in Rome, namely the Madonna del Parto (Madonna of Childbirth), 1521, by the sculptor-cum-architect Jacopo Sansovino (1486-1570).
For centuries, the statue has been visited by mothers-to-be, who have prayed for a safe delivery.
In 1822, Pope Pius VII (r. 1800-1823) granted an indulgence to the faithful who kissed Mary's left foot. The response was so great that the marble foot soon had to be replaced by a silver one.
The Latin inscription above the statue reads (in translation): 'Virgin, Childbirth is Your Glory'.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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