Painted in 1961 for the Church of the same name (Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Hayes, Middlesex), Mary is depicted as the strong Mother of Mankind. The child, sleeping peacefully on her arm, represents humanity undisturbed by the chaos of the world, shown in the blazing explosion of the background. Mary’s foot crushes the serpent; new branches spring from the dead log; the dove with an olive branch, symbol of peace, in its beak is alighting; the pylons and factories in the distance recall where the church is situated and that Mary, like all of us, had to work. (taken from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish booklet)
Influenced by the Italian Renaissance, Pietro Annigoni’s (1910-1988, Italian) portraiture lead him to such significant commissions as that of Pope John Paul XXIII, US Presidents John F Kenndey and Lyndon B Johnson and members of the British Royal Family. In 1947 he signed the manifesto for the Modern Realist Painters and in 1949 had works accepted for the Royal Academy’s annual exhibition. Annigoni also devoted much of his work-life to frescoe painting in Italian churches.