Thursday, 27 August 2015

A garden in Bruges

Virgin and Child, with Saints Catherine and Barbara,  and Mary Magdalene, and Donor   
Gerard David 1510  © National Gallery, London

The large-scale meditative figures dominate this painting, posed against the Italian silk and gold damask hanging which frames the Virgin and Child, and the buildings of Bruges behind.  The walled garden (the hortus conclusus),  the potent medieval image of Mary's virginity, seems to fade into the background in this 'modern' Renaissance painting; only the sharp horizontal line of the wall as it  links  the saints' heads reinforces this concept of the holy enclosed garden.  

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