Sunday, July 30, 2017

Madonna in the Garden - Mary in a Rose-filled Garden near Bruges

Master of the Legend of Saint Lucy (fl 1480-1510 in Bruges) 1475-1480 Virgin of the Rose Garden at the Detroit Institute of Art

One of the many anonymous Flemish artists in the generation of Hans Memling has been identified as the Master of the Legend of Saint Lucy after a painting located in the church of St James in Bruges.  In the foreground of this painting the Virgin Mary & the Christ Child are seated with 4 female martyr-saints, Catherine, Barbara, Ursula, & Cecilia. 

The courtly entourage is placed within an enclosed garden lined with roses, suggesting metaphorical associations with the paradise bower of the Song of Songs. The Virgin & her party sit in a small, enclosed garden before a hedge of red roses. The spot is sealed off from the remainder of the landscape by the thorny rose garden hedge, which grows out of a brick wall or garden bed. Mary is allegorically represented as a fortress.

The city in the background has been identified as Bruges. Depictions of the city of Bruges in the background of several of his paintings record changes in the belfry, which was being remodeled from 1483 to c. 1502.