The meaning behind Banksy’s ‘Toxic Mary’ – Explained

The artwork entitled “Toxic Mary” by Banksy is an exceptional image that effectively blends the classic Renaissance style with a contemporary and ominous twist. The artwork features a depiction of the Madonna and Child, which holds significant religious value and has been a subject of artistic innovation for centuries.

However, Banksy has taken this well-known imagery and added a sinister and unusual element to “Toxic Mary”. In Banksy’s painting, the infant is fed an orange bottle with the skull and crossbones symbol, commonly associated with dangerous and poisonous substances.

This suggests that the infant is subjected to a toxic and harmful substance instead of being nourished with milk. Banksy’s use of paint drips in the artwork further contributes to the overall impression of the subjects slowly melting away. The painting’s composition effectively highlights the dark and toxic nature of the image, which serves as a critical commentary on religion. Moreover, Banksy’s opinion on the toxicity of family relationships is also apparent in the artwork.

The painting was initially displayed at Banksy’s Turf War exhibit in London in 2003. The artwork was sold as a signed print for £150 and an unsigned print for £74.99. Attendees at Santa’s Ghetto in Palestine had the opportunity to purchase unique colourways of the artwork in 2007 for $10,000.

‘Some mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves.’

Overall, “Toxic Mary” is a compelling artwork showcasing Banksy’s unparalleled style and ability to create thought-provoking pieces that challenge our perceptions of the world.

Toxic Mary

Year: 2003

Medium: Screenprint in colours on wove paper

Size: 70×50 cm

Publisher: Pictures on Walls with or without the blind stamp


Signed Edition: 150

Unsigned Edition:600

Extra Colourways: Pink, Blue, Red: 44 signed prints

Unsurprisingly, ‘Toxic Mary’ is highly sought after by art collectors worldwide. If you want to include this iconic artwork in your collection, please don’t hesitate to contact us or check out the print in our online store here. If you can not find what you are looking for, one of our team will be happy to source you your perfect Banksy artwork.



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