Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Madonna in the Garden - Virgin Mary Standing in a Flowery Mead Attr to Master of Flémalle or Robert Campin (1375-1444)

Illustrated manuscripts & early depictions of landscapes in portrayals of Biblical gardens give us a glimpse of gardens - real, symbolic, familiar, & imagined by artists & their clients during those periods. 

Attributed to Master of Flémalle or Robert Campin (1375-1444)  Virgin and Child  She stands on a bed of wildflowers. The spot is sealed off from the remainder of the landscape by a architectural or textile image instead of the more traditional fence or hedge of the hortus conclusus.

A Mead is a medieval garden designed to imitate a small meadow or sometimes a larger, natural meadow. A Flowery Mead is a medieval term for a lawn rich in wild flowers. A flowery mead is often one of the essential components of a medieval garden. The flowery mead depicted is seldom within a distinct, geometric, larger garden. Albertus Magnus (c 1200-1280), a German Dominican friar & a Catholic bishop, was a great admirer of lawns & flowery meads "For the sight is in now way so pleasantly refreshed as by fine and close grass kept short." Most writers recommend digging out the original 'waste' plants, killing the seeds in the soil by flooding with boiling water, then laying out the lawn with curves laid in and pounded well. Another writer recommended mowing them twice a year; lawn mowing would have been done with scythes or primitive shears.