Women in Church Art
In the cross vault of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City there are four niches, each one containing a very impressive statue. One in particular which stands out – Saint Veronica by Francesco Mochi. His active and passionate depiction of her is at odds with the decorum of the Basilica – the statue shows her to be frantic, almost jumping out of her niche.
She is said to be the woman who wiped the face of Jesus on the road to Calgary when he fell under the weight of the cross and his image was left on the cloth. The relics of her veil are held in the relic niche just above her statue and it is shown to the public on the fifth Sunday of Lent. Miriam Gormally met with artist Eve Parnell, who discusses this larger than life woman and why her original and idiosyncratic statue came to have such a prominent place in the Basilica.