This paper will analyze two polychrome wood sculptures depicting St Anne with the Virgin and Child from the beginning of the 1500s. These sculptures, largely unknown, show St Anne wearing a crown on her veil. The two, probably locally carved, sculptures are found in Finland. Is the crown, a rare iconographic detail, conveying the extremist interpretations concerning the question of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin? In the later Middle Ages it was not unheard of to believe that also St Anne had conceived without sexual intercourse; this officially unaccepted idea of the ‘immaculate conception of Anne’ was portrayed fox example by showing the image of the little Mary in St Anne’s womb. Perhaps this was done also by placing a crown on the grandmother’s head.
This paper will analyze miracles of the Virgin from Jean de Vignay’s Miroir Historial, a French translation of Vincent de Beauvais’s Speculum Historiale, focusing on the extant illuminated manuscripts. Miraculous images often display signs of life, or even supernatural powers: responding to violent attacks, accepting offerings of bread, protecting virtuous painters, or resisting physical damage altogether. Do the miniatures ‘illustrate’ or complement the text, or do they convey events in ways that texts cannot? Are images as physical objects differentiated from appearances or visions? A close image-text analysis of selected miracles will reveal the status of these often controversial images.
When Millard Meiss published Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death, he included an unusual group of Sienese and Florentine paintings. At a time when St Catherine of Alexandria’s Mystic Marriage to Christ was gaining popularity in the West, some artists choose to depict Catherine’s mystical vision as a real marriage to an adult, not infant Christ. Supervising the ceremony and acting as rabbi was the Virgin Mary. This short lived variation to the now traditional imagery is inherently sexual and in some cases unexpectedly and unacceptable lascivious. Who were the patrons of these images and who were their intended audience?