We all know the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a Little Lamb.”
What you might or might not know is that a lot of people think this song is a metaphor for the Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Mary” is Mary. The “little lamb” is Jesus. If you think about the lyrics it makes a fair amount of sense.
Anyways, there’s a common type of painting out there that portrays a shepherd girl holding a baby lamb. Next time you see an image like that, try thinking about it as a metaphor for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Above, for example, is a painting by J.B. Hofner called “The Shepherdess.”
You might notice the girl’s posture is very reminiscent of images and statues of Mary with the Child Jesus.
I’m not sure if a religious metaphor is necessarily what the artist’s intent was in this particular painting or not, but it illustrates my case.
I know I purchased a print of a painting of this sort from a thrift store a few years ago. It hangs in my room in my parents’ house.
Some people have found it rather odd that I own a painting of a young shepherd-girl, since it’s the type of painting you often see in a young girl’s room, or a family living room, or a nursery, or something. When I bought it, I expected some folks would find it strange; but I thought of it as a metaphor for Our Lady and Jesus! If I explain that, and/or say I got it cheap at a thrift store, they usually don’t find it so weird anymore.
My thoughts when buying it were, “I know people might find this weird, but it’s a really nice piece, and has religious symbolism!”