Scholars have long recognized the bridal connotations of Mary’s crown in the Ghent Altarpiece; however, they have not linked its forms to the royal sceptres of Charles V and his queen, Jeanne de Bourbon. Van Eyck’s appropriation of earthly forms in depicting heavenly forms reinforces the twin concepts of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Mystical Bride of Christ. Regalia, symbols of divine rulership, will be examined in connection with the sacramental themes of the altarpiece (baptism, knighting, marriage, sacrifice, death, rebirth, etc.) and in relation to the efforts of France and Burgundy to restore peace after decades of strife.
This paper will propose that some of the images which the art historical literature labels Educations of the Virgin, in particular some late medieval German sculptures showing the adult Anne and Mary with one or more books, in fact depict a quite different subject: a discussion between the two women of the coming death of Jesus. This point will be argued on the basis of the visual evidence of the works themselves, on comparisons with other late medieval German works, and on the basis of medieval texts which allude to the theme.
Note from IMC administration: paper jointly written but to be delivered by V. Nixon alone
awaiting third paper