I would say that her name is Mary. Wouldn’t you? I wish she could speak to me. In a way she does. Her upturned eyes and expression speaks volumes. But there is so much more I want to know. Details no one will ever know and that I would so dearly love to know.
My paternal grandmother’s name was Adelina Santucci Manzelli. Her side, the Santucci side, owned an old home in Italy – I had heard say 900 years old (but that came from an eccentric aunt) . One day before some of the family immigrated to America there was an earthquake. And afterwards, the house intact but shaken, in the attic under the roof rafters was found this small painting. Supposedly it had been hidden away. Why?
So Mary, how old are you? My neighbor who restores antique paintings for some of the Charleston elite believes that she is at least 300 years old and perhaps somewhat older.
And Mary, who painted you? The same restorer believes that she may have been painted by two people. Perhaps there was a need for someone else to finisher her. The reasoning for this is that the hands are somewhat clumsy looking while the face is very well done.
On the back, in Italian, is some documentation that I have no translation for. I inherited the painting and have no remaining family members who speak or read Italian. So perhaps, one of you could kindly reply and tell me what the words say? THAT, at least, would be one mystery solved.
For now Mary sits on a mantle in my bedroom under a cross. My home was once occupied by Catholic priests before there was a Catholic church in this town. It is likely that this fireplace was added by them. And this old house and what sometime happens within, one day, may be another story to tell.