Final Essay Art History

Submitted By sterllll
Words: 1271
Pages: 6

After my trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, I chose the Virgin and Child in a Landscape (paintings | oil on panel, 41 1/4 x 34 1/4 in. (104.78 x 87 cm) (panel) 53 1/2 x 34 3/16 in. (135.89 x 86.84 cm) (outer frame), Europe, Netherlands 15th-16th century, c. 1492-1498). This framed piece was located in the European Art from early 1500-1600s section. Also the piece was marked with the other Early Netherlandish works of art. It is said that the artist was a painter or a group of painters called Master of the Embroidered Foliage (active 1480 – 1500). He/She/ or them was a Netherlandish painter or a group of painters that worked in and out of Bruges and Brussels. Historians argued even ‘til recently that this panel painting was a series of paintings by multiple artists due to the same and identical Virgin and Child figures used within different scenes and backgrounds. To begin with, the painting was originally an altarpiece used as a devotional image in a Christian and Early European Church. By the way, the subject matter in this work of art is focused on the Virgin who is Mary and the Child who is Jesus Christ. Also there is many other symbols that reflect the message of this popular scene where Christ is sitting upon Mary’s knee while she rests the bible on her other knee. These symbols were imposed into this work to reinforce the relations of the subject matter to the story it is trying to narrate to the viewer. First thing first, the piece is divided into three grounds; the foreground, middle, and background. Eyeing the foreground, The Virgin Mary is comfortably resting in the middle of the piece; appearing to be sitting on some sort of a throne or chair. Also a patterned thresh or rug conforms her feet that are layered behind her drape. Both the Virgin and the Child are placed and surrounded by a walled garden that differentiates from the middle and background landscape. This walled garden refers to the garden in the Bible’s Canticle of Canticles (also called the Song of Songs or Song of Solomon) 4:12, in Latin: "Hortus conclusus soror mea, sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus" ("A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up." Coupled with the fact that in Early European/Dutch Art the sacred doctrine was to portray the Virgin Mary near a close garden/yard. Thus, it would illustrate her perpetual virginity that would be represented figuratively as her “enclosed womb” or “closed off womb”. Not to be excluded, the walled garden in the foreground is covered in flowering plants acting as symbols to also reveal the iconography of the Virgin Mary. The blue iris flower refers to the sorrows of the Virgin; specifically the blue color of the iris represents the fidelity of Mary. Its blade-shaped verdure symbolized the sorrows that would pierce the heart of Mary in Luke 2:35 – “and a sword will pierce through your own soul also…” Graceful violets in front of her allude to her humility and innocence as the Blessed Virgin Mary. As well, the strawberry plant symbolizes her righteousness as the blessed one and sacred one God chose. In Vincenzina Krymow’s Mary's Flowers in Legends, Gardens and Meditations, he states that the strawberry was called Fruitful Virgin and it was told that Mary would go a-berrying with her Son on St. John's Day, June 24. Also that any mother who had lost a child would not eat strawberries on that day for if she did, Mary would say to her child in heaven, "You must stand aside for your mother has eaten your share, and none remains for you." In addition to the walled garden and the flowering plants that symbolize the importance of the Virgin Mary is also the peacock sitting on the gate that encloses the garden. The peacock signifying paradise over the garden shifts the symbolism of her presence overall to her importance in the tales of purity to God and Annunciation. Krymow also acknowledges that in a passage