There are a number of paintings depicting the Madonna del Buon Consiglio, (Our Lady of Good Counsel). I hadn’t given much thought or had much interest until my visit to Italy. After waiting a number of years to return to Italy I was able to get there in 2013 and kept it simple with a visit to Rome, Assisi and Abruzzo (for a short visit with relatives). It was mainly a pilgrimage for me, although I preferred to call myself a Pilgrim/Tourist on that trip.
On my visit to Assisi I came across a small painting on display at the Sacro Convento Museum at the Basilica of San Francesco. It immediately caught my eye and I fell in love with it. It was a beautiful depiction of Our Lady of Good Counsel painted by Pasquale Sarullo. Sarullo (1828 – 1893) was a 19th-century Franciscan friar, priest and artist. He was from Ciminna, in the province of Palermo, Italy; his work was appreciated by his contemporaries and had an international circulation. I can’t find detailed information about this artist or images of other works he painted but his painting of Our Lady of Good Counsel is a popular one, and I came home with a souvenir of Our Lady of Good Counsel – a small plaque with the image by Sarullo.
Devotion to the Mother of Good Counsel is associated with the story of a miraculous icon. The sacred image is found in a church in Genazzano, a beautiful town on a hill, south-east of Rome. The church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel was built there in the fourth century. The fresco image was painted on a sheet of plaster that was very thin and delicate. It has survived through the centuries, withstanding several earthquakes and the bombing during World War II. Even though altars and walls around it were destroyed and the roof caved in, the icon was not destroyed.
The icon at Genazzano is approximately 30 centimetres wide and 46 centimetres high. The Christ Child nestles close to his mother. Mary supports Jesus with her left arm. She bends her head toward him, and their cheeks touch tenderly. The left hand of Jesus gently grasps the rim of her dress, indicating the intimacy of nursing……reflecting Mary’s concern for both Jesus and his Church. It is the most famous fresco in Augustinian possession. There is an annual feast day on 26th April.
This is the painted version by Sarullo that I was drawn to… it’s beautiful, and I love it.