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Angelina Bovo
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    (April 20, 1894-August 14, 1976)
    Born in Genova, Italy
    Model for artist Roberto Feruzzi's famous painting, Madonna of the Streets (pictured)
    Maiden name: Angelina Cian
    While holding her brother, Giovanni on a cold winter day, she was seen by Feruzzi who was immediately inspired to paint the two of them
    Portrait was immediately interpreted as a portrayal of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus
    Emigrated to the United States with her husband in 1906
    As of 2011, no one knows where the original portrait is.
    She got very little, if any, money from modeling for the painting.
    Her mother made her promise to never reveal that she was the model, a promise she kept and was not revealed to be the model until years after her death when her siblings revealed it to her daughter, a nun.
    She was only eleven and her brother one when they posed for Ferruzzi.
    Ferruzzi claimed that he did not originally intend for the portrait to portray Mary and Jesus.
    Her family and some Italians and Italian Americans don't like the name which is translated as Our Lady of the Streets, which sounds like a name for a prostitute and much prefer the painting's original title, Madonnia, which means 'Little Mother.'
    'Madonna of the Streets' is her only known modeling assignment. That, its huge success, and the knowledge that she was discovered at age eleven while babysitting her brother will drive professional models nuts.
    'Madonna of the Streets' is unquestionably the most popular religious work of art of the last century.
    Being 'discovered' at eleven years old while babysitting your brother is certainly an original way to become a model.
    After emigrating to the United States, she lost her husband to illness which left her destitute and led to a mental breakdown and her younger children being sent to various orphanages and foster homes.
    Her children were deeply devoted to her and reunited as adults. One of whom who had become a nun (and adopted her name in her honor) traveled to Italy to seek out her mother's family and discovered that she was the model for 'Madonna of the Streets.'
    Technically 'Madonna of the Streets' is an awesome work of art and was the highpoint of Ferruzzi's career.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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