Some posts ago dear Dinahmow had the idea to arrange a Blog Party, assuming correctly that it would lift the mood of not only me, but all bloggers around. Of course Dianhmow put an own twist in it, after all it is a Christmas Blog Party, with gifts for fellow bloggers. She presented me with some Bix – very nice and welcome ! Blogger Inexplicable DeVice (IDV) followed Dinahmow’s example, including baubles. He gave me as present a castle, so that I would finally have enough space for the books : Very thoughtful IDV – and that house comes with a nice view too.
Because I am a lazy person, I did not go out trawling the web for individual presents, but choose the easy way out and present all of you, venerated readers and fellow bloggers, with one gift – let’s look together at one picture of a garden – a late nod to The Annual Infomaniac Garden Photos Event, originally hosted by The Mistress, this year’s tenth anniversary installation presented by IDV in an impressive series of posts (last here).
Actually we will look at a sixhundred years old piece of (oak) wood with the depiction of a small garden painted on it. If you want to see the real thing, you have to travel to Europe, Germany, Frankfurt am Main, visit the Staedel Museum, climb to the second floor and go to the room “Alte Meister”. It is part of the online collection, and this link should lead you right to the zoomable presentation. (It opens in a new tab, but when you right-click, you may open it in a new window, so you can keep it open while we look at it together, if you like.)
We see a walled garden, a hortus conclusus (Ger., Eng.) with a lot of naturalistically painted flowers, plants, and birds. I am sure that someone somewhere published a list of the identifiable plants and feather balls, but I am not in a mood to search for it – I am glad to recognise the Maiglöckchen, and the strawberries. I think to the left sits a blue tit. You see that they have a Hochbeet there, a raised bed, right behind the table is the strong wooden bordering. The mentioned (stone) table with its hexagonal plate carries a goblet made from greenish glas, a Nuppenbecher (Ger.), and someone ate from the fruits that are on that plate, apples perhaps. If you look closely, you see the fine, white table runner.
Next to the table sits Maria on something we do not see, but on a red cushion. She reads, not uncommon for her. I once read a nice article about this motif, but sadly did not bookmark it. Usually Mary reads when she is visited by the archangel who has to tell her that she’ll be pregnant soon – here is an interesting example. But here we see her son playing at her feet, in fact he plays some music on a kind of zither I think, supervised by Santa Caecilia (Ger., Eng.), the patronsaint of musicians. You may notice that Jesus uses white, rod-like things as plectra or picks, I guess it is quills. I do not remember another image of Jesus making music.
Behind the musicians we see another lady in red plucking little red fruit from a tree with intertwisted trunks, I am not sure who she is, but I like the idea that she collects cherries, and puts them into this beautiful, weaved basket – it has something grail’s-like about it. Maybe the holy grail is a basket full of cherries. This reminds me of our friend, I am sad that I can not show this painting to him, it is one year now since he left us. He liked cherries a lot, and I think it made him happy when he discovered Kirschgrütze (Ger., Eng.). Best with vanilla sauce. The intertwined trunks of the tree remind me of Jachin and Boas (Ger., Eng.), it may be a bit farfetched, perhaps.
A third holy lady, in blue, sits in the lower left corner of the painting. She uses a golden, chained ladle, either to scoop water out of a kind of piscina or cistern, or maybe she skims floating things from the water. If you look closely you may see waves, or reflections of light on the surface of the water, and possibly fish-like little strokes of colour. I am not sure whther there are really fish in this object.
The group of the three holy ladies, with Jesus, is arranged to the right of Maria, while on the other side we see three male figures, who actually do nothing : They sit together closely, talking and listening, separated from the other group by the trunk of a tree. This tree trunk is cut short, on top of it emerge two young branches, shoots. I do not know the English words, the gardening special language (Fachsprache), but it looks as if two Edelreier were aufgepfropft – is “scion” correct ?
And there sits a strange guest, obviously a dæmon, or may be (vanquished) satanas himself. I find this peculisr, I can not recall a painting of “paradys”, or a description of this place at all, with the evil attending. Paradys must be devil’s hell. He looks (grim) up to the group of three figures : A man leaning on a tree talking, identified as Oswald, king of Northumbria (Ger., Eng.) ; archangel Michael, and a knight, given as St. George. Who am I to doubt what professional arthistorians do conclude, but nevertheless, I wonder why an English king, and George, appear in a painting created in the Upper Rhine region.
Under the dragon slayer lies the (tiny) defeated dragon, on his back, pointing his four small legs to the sky, apparently pretty stiff & dead, and absolutely not intimidating. Not a Norwegian Blue, more of a Suebian Green. The archangel is the only figure who looks out of the picture, in the direction of the onlooker. I think he’s a bit bored, at least his gesture (resting his head in his right hand) and his “mien” could be interpreted this way, maybe Oswald is not the most interesting talker. St George btw is the only one who looks directly at Maria.
Thank you for following me around the little garden, I hope you enjoyed the stroll. Thank you all, venerated readers, fellow bloggers, for, well, just being there.