Madonna of the Rosegarden

According to the  theological teaching of the Catholic Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary is prefigured throughout the Old Testament. So, in the Song of Solomon, we read : Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? (Douay-Rheims Bible). This lady is associated with the Woman clothed with the Sun of the Book of Revelation. 

According to this article, the figure of Mary in the rose garden is prefigured in the Song of Solomon thus:

I am the Rose of Sharon,
The lily of the valleys.
As a lily among the thistles,
So is my beloved among girls.


She is a garden enclosed;
My sister, my promised bride.

The painting below is attributed to Michelino da Besozzo or to Stefano da Verona. It reminds me of Far Eastern Buddhist paintings. The Madonna and Child appear to float, surrounded by angels. The martyred Saint Catherine of Alexandria is at the bottom of the painting. The peacocks are symbolic of the immortality of Christ.


Below is Martin Schongauer’s Virgin in the Rosebush from 1473.  The walled garden (hortus conclusus)  emphasises Mary’s purity. She is crowned by angels.


And here is Stefan Lochner’s Madonna in the Rose Bower from 1448. Here are more musician angels.


I cannot find a copyright-free version of the Virgin of the Rose Garden by the unknown Master of the Legend of St Lucy.  To see it, please go here to the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

This blog, Women and the Garden, and this article from New Liturgical Movement look at the Blessed Virgin Mary and the themes of the hortus conclusus in more detail.

Blessed Fulton J. Sheen wrote The World’s First Love about Mary. Here he is on youtube talking about ‘The Woman I Love’.


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