In addition to a Neo-classical interpretation of drapery, artists during this time also explored the veil motif in response to the Risorgimento, or the Italian unification. As the Italian people developed a renewed interest in arts and culture, the image of a veiled woman became an allegory for the united country. This symbol, the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website explains, is comparable to how “Britannia symbolized England, Hibernia symbolized Ireland, and Lady Liberty symbolized the United States.”
Why did Strazza opt to combine a nationalistic symbol with Catholic iconography? While his own religious beliefs are not known, many propose it to be a work of devotion. It is also possible, however, that he was simply inspired by the religious sculptures created by Renaissance and Baroque masters before him.