A contemporary copy of the Salus Populi Romani icon is the World Youth Day icon. A close-up is shown above.
The original icon is located within the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, which is the Papal major basilica and the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy, from which size it receives the appellation "major". The Popes have venerated this image for centuries.
In recent times Popes have elevated this Holy Icon's status.
It has also gone through a transition of title and placement: "For centuries it was placed above the door to the basilica's baptistery, and in 1240 it was called Regina Caeli ("Queen of Heaven").
Copies of the Original Icon
Period Artists have re-interpreted this icon. Below are some examples. What places these all under the patronage of the original image is the way the figure and features of Mary remain elongated and the position of Jesus is always situated in the same way.
The Original Icon
Update. Shown here are the before and after restoration photos of 2018.Legend tells us that icon St. Luke rendered the first images of the Mother of God and this one is part of that historical thread. Copies of his works circulated and have were embellished greatly (to this very day). To note, NO ONE KNOWS what happened to the St Luke first images. You see here the blue mantle over the red tunic which was more popular in The Byzantine Italian churches. The blue tunic and mantle was first introduced as a standard in early Byzantine churches.
This image "has been confidently dated to almost every possible period between the fifth century and the thirteenth".
"The icon in its current state of overpainting seems to be a work of the 13th century (as witnessed by the features of the faces), but other layers visible under the top one suggest it is a repainting of a much earlier piece; especially revealing is the modeling of Child's right hand in the first layer, which can be compared to other early Christian icons that display 'Pompeian' illusionistic qualities.
The areas of linear stylization, such as Christ's garment which is rendered in golden hatching producing a flat effect, seem to go back to the 8th century, and can be compared with a very early icon of Elijah from Mount Sinai.
A second restoration process started around 1100 and came to an end in the 13th century. The Virgin's blue mantle which is wrapped over her purple dress was severely altered in the outline; the red halos are also not part of the original image." More at Wikipedia (and everywhere).
A Recent Copy
A copy of the original Salus Populi Romani circulates with World Youth Day (WYD) events, initiated by Pope St John Paul II. The dates and themes of each WYD event are listed at the bottom.
According to one 2011 WYD source, this icon has been "traveling the globe since 2003." Further the author notes, "I just want to re-iterate the importance that Icons are playing in the New Evangelization and I expect their role to become central and integral to this in the next few years."
As you see, the WYD icon is slightly different than the prototype and you can read about the design elsewhere on the web. Recall that the original was completed much earlier and it would be impossible to duplicate it exactly (although there are specialists who come close).
World Youth Day Chronology
Year and Location Theme
to view the list click read more
1986- Rome, Italy
Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.
- 1Pt 3:15
1987- Buenos Aires, Argentina
We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves.
- 1Jn 4:16
1989- Santiago de Compostela, Spain
I am the way, the truth, and the life
- Jn 14:6
1991- Czestochowa, Poland
You have received a spirit of sonship.
- Romans 8:15
1993- Denver. USA
I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.
- Jn 10:10
1995- Manila, Philippines
As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.
- Jn 20:21
1997- Paris, France
Teacher, where are you staying? Come and see.
- Jn 1:38-39
2000- Rome, Italy
Jubilee – The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
- Jn 1:14
You are the salt of the earth; You are the light of the world.
- Mt 5:13-14
2005- Cologne, Germany
We have come to worship him.
- Mt 2:2
2008- Sydney, Australia
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses
-Acts 1, 8
2011- Madrid, Spain
Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith
2013- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Go and Make Disciples of All Nations
South America after that.
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