From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Lactation of St Bernard (Lactatio Bernardi in Latin) is a variant on the Maria Lactans trope. It is based on a miracle or vision concerning St Bernard of Clairvaux where the Virgin sprinkled milk on his lips (in some versions he is awake, praying before an image of the Madonna, in others asleep). In art he usually kneels before a Madonna Lactans, and as Jesus takes a break from feeding, the Virgin squeezes her breast and he is hit with a squirt of milk, often shown travelling an impressive distance. The milk was variously said to have given him wisdom, shown that the Virgin was his mother (and that of mankind generally), or cured an eye infection. In this form the Nursing Madonna survived into Baroque art.
Alonzo Cano version
Vision of St. Bernard (1650) is a painting by Alonzo Cano. Currently held by the Museo del Prado, it depics a Maria lactans who squirts mother milk from quite a distance into Bernard of Clairvaux's mouth.
Several versions of the vision of Saint Bernard were painted. There is one a by Fra Bartolommeo, c. 1504 at the Uffizi. Others include renditions by Murillo, Bellegambe, Claude Mellán, Christus Petrus, Juan Correa de Vivar, Antonio Peris, Juan de las Roelas, Juan Carreño and the Maestro de Borbotó.
- Lactatio Bernardi
- Vision (spirituality)