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9. (L) Marcelle Bittar, Rio de Janeiro, Vogue Paris, 2005; (R) The Sick Child, Gabriël Metsu, c. 1664 - c. 1666i

TD: Mario’s work is deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition. It breathes the Mediterranean. And therefore it is so exciting to compare his work to Dutch paintings, which are deeply rooted in a Nordic Protestant tradition of depicting the world. But the closest we get to this juxtaposition is Mario’s photographs of boys at the beach carrying a fully dressed woman. You don’t know if she is a saint in ecstasy – sexual ecstasy – or rather a Christ figure being carried to the grave. And that reminds me of Gabriël Metsu’s ‘Mother with a Sick Child’, the closest the Protestants get to
depicting the Madonna and Child. A painting with the Catholic subject of the crucifixion in the background; a painting of a mother tending to her child who is very ill. He has the same position in a curve, his body and his limps are heavy with illness, like the woman in Mario’s photograph.