Wednesday 1 June 2011

Mary in the Rose Garden, 15th Century Tapestry in the St Marien Kirche, Rostock, Germany

And this is why this wonderful piece is called Mary in the Rose Garden - right in the middle of the tapestry, Mary cradles the Infant Jesus, watched over by four angels, in the midst of masses of roses. How this tapestry came to be in the St Marien Kirche and what purposed it served, no-one knows. It is conjectured that the piece was made in one of the Rostock monasteries or hospitals around 1450.
Here you can see the work in its entirety - it is very large, but I have yet to trace its exact measurements - perhaps a German reader can help us?
Surrounding Mary are scenes from the Old and New Testaments which prefigure later stitched embroideries and applied works. For example, Abraham's Sacrifice which you can see above. And below Jesus at the well with the woman of Samaria and beneath, Judith and Holofernes. So, all these tableaux were part of a well established repertoire of textiles before the Stuart embroideries of the mid 17th century.

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