In fourteenth century Florence, Piero della Francesca created what has become a famous portrait of a pregnant Madonna. Italian architect Renzo Manetti says this painting reveals secrets of the Knights Templar, who were active in Florence during that period. According to Manetti, the pregnant Madonna, with her hand on her swelling stomach, is the symbol of the hidden (pagan) truths that the Knights knew. And people are flocking to Naples to see a statue of Mary that turns flesh-colored and moves. The way the statue changes has been captured on video; however, Bishop Giovanni Rinaldi insists it's a trick of the light.
John Hooper writes in The Guardian newspaper that portraits of pregnant Madonnas, all in the same pose, began appearing in Florence soon after the Knights Templar were suppressed in 1312. Manetti days, "In virgin and child paintings, the child symbolizes wisdom, knowledge, truth. So what the pregnant Madonnas represent is hidden truth."
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