“FULL OF GRACE: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art and Life,” by Judith Dupre, Random House, $40, 332 pages (nf)

“Full of Grace: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art, and Life” by Judith Dupre is a stunning book written about one of the most mysterious yet most powerful women in history.

Tackling a seemingly impossible task, Dupre not only created an art book about the Virgin Mary but a history of her as well.

The author begins by examining Mary’s life in ancient Palestine and her divine call as the mother of God. Using the Bible to draw upon for evidence, Dupre paints a vivid picture of what Mary’s world consisted of.

Dupre expounds upon Mary’s Jewish influences and speaks about her role within the religion. She also touches on her role within the Muslim and Hispanic communities. Each section has ample amounts of artwork that speaks to the culture in which she is represented.

One of the most powerful parts of the book is a section titled “Mary’s Many Faces.” In this section is a series of pictures that portray Mary in many different cultural views. The painting titled “Our Lady of Czestochowa” is hauntingly beautiful.

This book is a touching tribute to a woman who is often overlooked. Speaking to people of all religions, Dupre reminds us of Mary’s profound faith and diligence.

The pictures in the book emphasize the points that Dupre makes. Though some may seem odd at first glance, they are full of cultural and historical meaning.

Especially suited for those needing to get in the Christmas spirit, “Full of Grace” is not only thought-provoking but brilliantly written as well.

Shelby Scoffield is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a graduate student at California State University, Stanislaus.