Geertgen tot Sint Jans ca. 1460/65 – ca. 1488/93

Virgin and Child

tempera on panel (27 × 21 cm) — 1480s Museum Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Geertgen tot Sint Jans biography

This work is linked to Revelation 12:1

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Tags: Mary

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Also known as The glorification of Mary. As predicted in Genesis 3:15, the snake of the original sin is crushed by a woman. The snake is shown here as a dragon, and the woman is probably Mary, Eve's successor.

More importantly, this panel refers to the first verses of chapter 12 in John's Revelation. John speaks of a vision of a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Geertgen here has the crown resting on a bed of white and red roses - literally a rosary.

Surrounding the woman are three spheres with angels. In the inner circle are cherubs and seraphs (six-winged angels), two of them holding the crown.

The angels in the second ring carry elements from the Passion: a nail, a cross, a spear, a pillar. The top angels in this sphere hold banners with the text Sanctus, a reference to the glorification of Mary.

In the outer ring, the angels play instruments popular in Geertgen's days. One of them has eye contact with the infant Jesus, who also plays bells.

The panel was originally part of a diptych. The other panel depicts the Crucifixion and is in Edinburgh.

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