Jan Van Eyck's Petrus Christus De Voragine

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Imagine God was a Christian patron in the mid 1400s and God commissioned a painting capturing the scene of a virgin’s decent into the next life. How would a Northern Renaissance artist commemorate God’s vestal virgin’s last day on earth and ascension on to heaven without any references to the event? According to Maryan Ainsworth in her book Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges “The Virgin’s death is not recounted in the Bible,” however, Jacobus de Voragine tells a story of an angel summoning the apostles to stand witness to the virgin’s departure to heaven in the Golden Legend (146). Following in the steps of Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus Petrus Christus is a Bruges citizen and Netherland artist uses the Northern Renaissance technique…show more content…
Supposedly the triptych included John the Baptist on the left and Saint Catherine on the right (see fig. 2). John the Baptist’s presence with the lamb represents the coming of Christ. Saint Catherine of Alexandria was known for her vision of marrying Jesus and she could be another reminder for the viewer to remain faithful to Jesus. The spine of the triptych Christus's Flemish Death of the Virgin depicts the virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus) on her death-bed surrounded by apostles, true to Voragine’s telling of the…show more content…
The red is a telling sign of God’s presence and how important the virgin is to him. Crowning the virgin in purity is her white veil. In the virgin’s hand a lit candle, a sign of her faith. The virgin’s black robe spills over the shoulder of the man in green reaching down between his legs. The color black is evident to most as an omen of death, however, the color black also can mean power, despair, or naiveté. A person can assume the message being communicated by the black robe spilling over into the lap and between the legs of the man. Nevertheless, in the fifteenth century a person would need to be careful what they are going to assume. Overhead winged angels carry the virgin’s soul to God. God is reaching out to Mary and similar to Adam reaching for God in Michelangelo’s fresco The Creation of Adam painted almost forty years later. The apostle in the white robe carrying holy water to the virgin signifies he is an important person in the scene in relation to the virgin. Underneath the foot of the apostle in white a book is laying on a wood chair or side table may also be another reference to the word of
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