The Madonna of the Rosary

In this room we can find the wooden statue of the Madonna of the Rosary ‘to be dressed’, the object of an ancient cult in the city of Ostuni. The statue, dating from the middle of the 18th Century is life-size and has a bust and limbs which can be moved in order to assume various positions and to facilitate the dressing of the figure. Infact the statue presents itself in its natural state without clothing. Its great artistic value is due to the harmonious form of the body, the detailed joints, the simplicity and elegance of the features and the delicacy and luminosity of the skin (it appears like porcelain, typical of the period) and the meticulous description of the smallest details, like the lips, the just-visible teeth, the cheeks, the eyebrows, the eyes, the hair, the covered breasts, the collarbone, the hands, the delicate stockings and her slippers. The decision to display the statue without clothing was made in order to show the visitors the artistic beauty of the work, in particular the complexity of the joints.

Respecting its liturgical iconography, the statue was duly dressed in precious vestments according to the different celebrations and functions; between the thumb and forefinger she is holding two rosary beads, whose holes allowed the crowns to be positioned after dressing, whilst the holes in the earlobes were created for brilliant earrings. These details render the statue one of the most noteworthy examples of its type to be found in Southern Italy in the 18th Century.

Teodoro De Giorgio