This weekend I was invited to a fabulous lunch with a group of guides from the Gallery -
Good food, good champagne, a great venue at M's beautiful house, and the best conversation..
|Virgin and Child with Saints c. 1510-20 - Triptych - Cologne School, Germany|
This was not on the agenda .. but it could have been!
Currently on display at the Qld Art Gallery, on loan from the National Gallery of Australia, is
a 500-year-old Triptych, from Cologne, Germany: Virgin and Child with Saints.
In the 15th century, the artists of the flourishing city of Cologne were famous for their magnificent colours, decoration and narrative skills particularly in their elaborate oak panel altarpieces.
The painting depicts the Virgin and Child in a garden, surrounded by angel musicians and six female martyr saints of the early Christian era, each holding their 'attributes'.
In the middle ages such works were didactic, to teach the large proportion of the population who were illiterate about the Christian religion.
Symbolism was important in conveying the stories of the saints.
To the right of the Virgin is Saint Agatha of Sicily, who according to legend was martyred in 251AD after being imprisoned and tortured, including the cutting off of her breasts. Hence she is carrying a breast!
Beside her is Saint Katherine of Alexandria, being given a ring by the infant Jesus. She is said to have made a mystical marriage with Christ.
Left is Saint Dorothy of Caesarea, patron saint of horticulture and gardeners.
Her attributes are fruit and flowers.
On the Virgin's left are Saint Barbara, who holds a little tower (her father imprisoned her). She is the patron saint of miners.
Next is Saint Cecilia, patron saint of music. She is said to have sung to God as she lay dying. Here she is playing a little portable organ.
On the far right is Saint Agnes, martyred at 13, patron of young girls. Her attribute of a lamb is used because her name resembles the latin word for lamb: agnus.
Here is the left shutter showing Saint Henry, with crown and sceptre, an eagle and a church, and Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine who is said to have found the true cross of Christ.
Kneeling is the donor figure who donated funds to commission the Triptych.
In return for this, he becomes part of the holy scene.
On the right shutter we see Saint Peter, the Apostle and first Pope, with a large key (keys of the kingdom of heaven), and Saint Margaret of Antioch, with an attribute of a dragon representing her apocryphal fight with the devil.
There are lots of smaller symbolic details, and in the background of the central panel and the right shutter is a view of Cologne, with elements of the cityscape identifiable as real landmarks.
The Triptych is in an amazingly good state of preservation and an excellent example of the high state of refinement in late medieval painting.
M has an amazing collection of gigantic ferns.
I asked her secret, which was divulged as 'water'...
She is obviously a more conscientious waterer than moi - our ferns have been rather dying off in the heat lately.
Bring on Autumn, I say.
We popped into the Woolloongabba Antique Centre for avocado on toast ..
and to buy some white Chalk Paint for a furniture restoration project I am planning ...
I really can't imagine what made me buy a pink heart-shaped trinket box, for a mere $7, can you?
Have an excellent week, and may the saints watch over you...