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.
Hans Memling (German-born Flemish painter, 1435-1494) Virgin and Child surrounded by roses with Two Angels 1480s
Illustrated manuscripts and early depictions of landscapes in portrayals of Biblical gardens give us a glimpse of gardens familiar & imagined during those periods. 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.