Manhattan Madonna

For an image of the huge “Manhattan Madonna” painting (1.3 x 2.9 metres) see: .


Gideon Polya, “Manhattan Madonna & 9/11”, MWC News, 11 October 2006.


Manhattan Madonna & 9/11

MANHATTAN MADONNA is a huge painting that I have recently completed as part of a series of Madonna and Child paintings based on major cities. The Manhattan Madonna has a fundamental message that the most profound beauty and truth in our world is that of Mother and Child and that this beauty and truth transcends the greatest works of Man.

This truism for decent people must be endlessly re-stated because it is so blatantly ignored in our present globalized, Bush-ite-led Spaceship Earth in which 10.6 million under-5 year old infants die every year, 29,000 daily and about 90% avoidably due to man-made deprivation and First World greed.

The 9/11 tragedy took the lives of 3,000 ordinary people like ourselves. Unlike other homicide events, in this case the culprits (Muslim-origin terrorists, Americans, Israelis?) have not yet been apprehended, tried and punished. Instead the world has been treated to years of hysterical propaganda, anti-Arab anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and horrendous war and suffering imposed on the Middle East and Central Asia.  However the Bush War on Terror that followed 9/11 has been associated with a total of 3.0 million post-invasion excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that did not have to happen) in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories, 0.9 million excess deaths in Occupied Iraq and  2.1 million excess deaths in Occupied Afghanistan [as of December 2009 post-invasion excess deaths in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories total 2.5 million and 4.5 million, respectively; see “Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide”: ) .

By way of corroboration of the above estimates that derive from the latest medical literature and UN data, a  quick inspection of the latest UNICEF figures reveals that each year 122,000 under-5 year old infants die in Occupied Iraq (population 28 million) and 359,000 die in Occupied Afghanistan (population 29 million) - as compared to 1,000 dying  in Occupier country Australia (population 20 million).

Thus about  0.5 million under-5 year old infants die each year in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories – 1,300 each day and ONE EVERY MINUTE – and this carnage is largely due to sustained US Coalition refusal to supply the life-sustaining requisites unequivocally demanded by the Geneva Conventions for the protection of civilians in time of war.

The Bush War on Terror is in reality a War on Women and Children, a War on Mother and Child.

The Manhattan Madonna explained

The Manhattan Madonna derives from a nearly 2 millennium tradition of painting icons of The Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus – that is, of Madonna (My Lady) and Child. Such icons have been revered in the Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholic Christian Churches. This subject came to a great flowering in the Italian Renaissance with the greatest Madonna and Child exponents including Botticelli (e.g. Madonna of the Magnificat, Uffizi Gallery, Florence), Leonardo Da Vinci (e.g. the 2 versions of the Virgin of the Rocks in the National Gallery, London and the Louvre, Paris, respectively), Raphael (e.g. Madonna of the Goldfinch, Uffizi Gallery, Florence) and Michelangelo (e.g. the Bruges Madonna, marble statue, Bruges).

A widely used geometry in paintings from the Renaissance onwards was the Golden Rectangle in which the length (L) is 1.618 (Phi) times the Width (the Da Vinci Code). Thus the 2 versions of the Madonna of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci are based on this geometrical construction. To understand this construction, imagine 2 identical squares each having the diagonals drawn and each containing an exactly fitting circle. Now bring these squares closer together so that the circles begin to overlap. When the overlap in the resultant Rectangle corresponds precisely to the Golden Section (the Divine Ratio) and  the length (L) of the Rectangle is 1.618 times the Width (W) then you have a Golden Rectangle – and when you have attained the Divine Ratio and the Golden Rectangle 2 beautiful 4-petalled flowers appear (the Golden Flowers). The overlap of the Circles is called the Vesica Pisces and has a sacred significance (the Christian fish, the Gothic Arch of Christian Churches) and also a profane symbolism (the female vulva and male penis, bomb, bullet and missile). The Golden Flowers have a sacred significance (the Cross and the Father, Son, Holy Ghost and Virgin Mary) and a profane symbolism (the aphrodisiac and luck in love properties of the 4-petalled Paris quadrifolia flower).

The Manhattan Madonna shows a universal Mother superimposed on the image (from East of the Brooklyn Bridge) of Manhattan a few seconds before the second plane crashes into the South Tower on 9/11. The billowing smoke becomes part of Her hair or hijab. Two dancing female figures on either side also become Her hair/hijab and displaying 2 heads for each of these figures conveys motion – the heads become part of Her Crown as Regina Mundi (Queen of the World). Two Golden Flowers at the top of the painting become jewellery in Her hair. Further decoration of the Madonna include the Moon in 2 phases (indicative of the menstrual cycle) and a white top of the Crown indicative of the Torch of the Statue of Liberty.

In the lower half of the painting we have the Manhattan buildings around the Twin Towers, the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River. A golden Flower appears on the Left Hand Side (LHS) and its opposite partner on the Right Hand Side (RHS) becomes an eagle (symbol of the CIA – who was responsible for 9/11?). On the RHS we have a lovely Child – a Born Child, one of the 0.5 million infants who die every year in the US-occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories or the 9.5 million who die avoidably each year in the World as a whole. However on the LHS we have an Embryo (the early Head and a tiny Hand are apparent) – the Racist Religious Right Republican (R4) Bush-ites are fanatical about the Right to Life of the Unborn but are complicit in horrendous avoidable mortality of Born Children in the Middle East, Central Asia and indeed in the Third World in general due to First World greed and unresponsiveness.

At the bottom of the painting we have 2 Golden Flowers that are converted into Seagulls (Free, Wild Nature). However there is a central Vesica Pisces that encompasses the Male – penis, bomb, missile, arrow and harpoon imagery connected with the water of the East River. The metal suspension strands of the Brooklyn Bridge make it a Bow for the Arrow/Harpoon directed at the water of the East River. Thus the painting overall encompasses male/female principles, air/water/earth/fire, the vulnerable and transient works of Man, the wider tragedy of 9/11 and the universal beauty, truth and dignity of Mother and Child.