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Patching up virgin Mary

Religious art

I am not a religious person. But I respect religion, its values and its place in history as well as modern-day societies. Religion has placed a big stamp on story telling and art. In Southern Europe, where Catholicism in particular plays a large part in daily life, you find evidence of this in architecture, homes and the general world around you. Here's the next instalment of stories of treasures found in Villa Ardilla! (Curious of what I've found before? Check out this blog on creepy dolls and other treasures.)

Our pool shed

We are lucky to have a pool in Villa Ardilla. And, as is the case with most pools in the area, ours is built up (too much bother to dig a hole in the solid stoney ground or so it seems). The resulting structure gives us a number of outhouses (the paellero, the shed, a guest room and a summer kitchen - BONUS!), as well as the pool maintenance room. The entrance to this particular pool space was nicely done up, with walls and masonry matching our home right next to it. But on one of the walls was an empty space, a piece of barren concrete. Somehow it seemed it was there on purpose. But why would this be there, you might wonder? Well, we did anyway.

A very special lady

It turns out, it was reserved for one special lady, that for some reason was waiting for us in the pool maintenance room (maybe she liked it there?). There she was, virgin Mary, painted on tiles in 1959. The old owners of the place would later tell us this was painted by a local student, back in the day, who later on went to make it big in New York. I've done some digging around, and it turns out there are a fair few painters from Valencia that go by the name of ROYO. I even contacted the most obvious one, Jose, but the painting was not his. So the search is still on (if you know who might have painted this, please let me know!).

Mary fell apart

Clearly Mary had to go back into her spot. Such a piece of history; she belongs to the house. Easier said than done, as it turned out. Because as hubby took hold of her (she's a hefty lady, made solely out of painted tiles), she actually fell apart. Imagine, hubby holding virgin Mary with both hands, while a number of tiles came crashing down onto his shins at full speed. There may or may not have been a few curse words uttered in agony...

Patching up Mary

So we had some patching up to do. There is the trusty kit, sticks to everything, even to Mary. Piece of cake really. I should have used it to kit hubby's shin back in one piece.😉 We left Mary to cure for a number of hours and hung her back in place. And I love it. No, it is not my style of art, and no it doesn't necessarily hold a deeper meaning for me, but it's a piece of history. It belongs to Spain, to the region, to the local area and to our home. And suddenly the bare piece of concrete made sense.


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I am Marieke, a Dutch Australian interior designer, business executive, tutor, content creator and social media influencer.


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