Sculptor Giovanni Strazza probably completed this bust of a veiled Virgin Mary in the early 1850s. It was transported to Newfoundland and placed in the Episcopal Palace next to St. John’s Basilica.
“To say that this representation surpasses in perfection of art, any piece of sculpture we have ever seen, conveys but weakly our impression of its exquisite beauty,” wrote a local newspaper. “The possibility of such a triumph of the chisel had not before entered into our conception. Ordinary language must ever fail to do justice to a subject like this — to the rare artistic skill, and to the emotions it produces in the beholder.”