Wednesday, November 5


Another Van Eyck Madonna

Lucca Madonna, by Jan van Eyck, 1436.
...The Virgin has been identified as a portrait of the painters's wife,
Margaretha, of whom van Eyck also made a secular portrait. It portrays the
Virgin sitting on a throne with four small lion statues, a reference to the
throne of Solomon, which had twelve lions on the sides and steps. In
Iconography this depiction of Madonna and Child, with Jesus sitting on Mary's
knee, is called the Throne of Wisdom, and is a common iconological type. As the Speculum Humanae Salvationis put it: "the throne of the true Solomon is
the most Blessed Virgin Mary, / In which sat Jesus Christ, the true wisdom." As
in many paintings by van Eyck and his contemporaries, this comparison is further
elaborated by specifically comparing Mary to an altar, where on her flat lap she
supports the infant Christ, just as the altar supports the presence of Christ in
the host at Mass. The white cloth beneath him, over the richer coloured cloth of
Mary's dress, and the niche to the right which resembles a piscina where water
for the priest to wash his hands was kept, all contribute to the comparison. The
unusual shape of the room, very narrow for such a large chair, suggests a small

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?