The entrance to Marywood University—nowadays purely formal, however functional it may once have been—is marked by an attractive single-bay arch in a streamlined neoclassical style. A MARYWOOD sign is clamped to the arch’s frieze and atop stands a statue of the Virgin Mary (figure 1).

Figure 1. Marywood entrance arch with statue of the Virgin. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Through the arch one espies the Learning Commons with its cyan-coated glazing. The photograph was taken something like an hour before sunset. The attentive observer will note that Mary crushes the head of a serpent with her right foot, a symbol of Christian victory over original sin. This victory is a fitting theme for what is, after all, the basic form of a triumphal arch.

Figure 2. Marywood entrance arch with statue of the Virgin. Detail: head and hands of Mary with halo. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

It is not clear that real heavenly halos consist of a metal ring of star-backed lights (figures 2, 3, 4), but the conceit is wonderful, and the lights are on every night as a beacon to the neighborhood.

Figure 3. Marywood entrance arch with statue of the Virgin. Detail: head and hands of Mary with halo, 3/4 view. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The image of the Virgin still betrays its fine cutting, though the marble is now rough from weathering.

Figure 4. Marywood entrance arch with statue of the Virgin. Detail: head and hands of Mary with halo in left profile. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Yesterday there was wonderful evening light, and I was able to get an image of the top of the statue silhouetted against the bright haze lit by the setting sun. The Western Mountain which borders the valley is crisscrossed by major power lines, and the sun caught the small V shapes of the insulators attaching the wires to the poles. This seemed a good counterpoint to the lights in Mary’s halo.

Figure 5. Marywood entrance arch with statue of the Virgin. Detail: head and hands of Mary with halo against Western Mountain of the Wyoming Valley. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Nikon Z 7ii, Nikkor 24-200 mm f/4-6.3 lens.

All images cropped.

Figure 1. 110 mm, f/8, ISO 200, 1/125 s.
Figure 2. Crop of figure 1.
Figure 3. 200 mm, f/8, ISO 200, 1/320 s.
Figure 4. 200 mm, f/8, ISO 200, 1/320 s.
Figure 5. 200 mm, f/8, ISO 200, 1/3200 s.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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