Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Madonna in the Garden - Virgin Mary with Roses attributed to Sandro Botticelli 1445-1510

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. 

Sandro Botticelli (Italian artist, 1445-1510) Virgin & Child with a young John the Baptist by Roses

Sandro Botticelli (Italian artist, 1445-1510) Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist by Roses, detail of the Madonna and Child

Here the Virgin is depicted with roses, suggesting metaphorical associations with the paradise bower of the Song of Songs. The rose is a symbol that has a complex symbolism and an ancient history. In the Christian religion, like the cross, it can have paradoxical meanings. It is at once a symbol of purity and a symbol of passion, heavenly perfection and earthly passion; virginity and fertility; death and life. In Catholic symbolism, the red rose is a symbol of Martyrdom, while the white rose is a symbol of purity since the earliest years of the Church. The Virgin Mary is called a 'rose without thorns,' because she was exempt from Original Sin. In Renaissance art, a garland of roses is often an allusion to the Rosary of the Virgin.