sant’ana museum, tiradentes

The Sant’Ana Museum opened last September in Tiradentes, in our old colonial prison.  Saint Anne is believed to be Mary’s mother, or Christ’s grandmother, and entered the Roman Catholic liturgy in the 12th c.  Brought to Brazil by the Portuguese, the mythology around Sant’Ana flourished in the verdant tropics, where she is revered as the patron saint of both miners and domestic homes.  (More generally she’s considered the patroness of unmarried women, housewives, women in labor, grandmothers, horseback riders, cabinet-makers, and sailors.)  While none of her story is scriptural, she is venerated in Brazil in part for her ability to intercede, on the sinner’s behalf, with Christ (making Christ a somewhat distant figure), and was transformed into a maternal icon, who ensures the fertility of couples and supervises growing households.

Over 300 of her images are collected here, from the 17th through 20th centuries, largely from Minas Gerais.  Most are “double-Madonna” images, while a few have grandmother showing grandson the Old Testament.  Some, endearingly, are travel-size. 

About ben

Ben Batchelder has traveled some of the world's most remote roads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Yet he persists, for through such journeys life unfolds. Having published four books that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, he is a mountain man in Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. His second travel yarn, To Belém & Back, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, visit