Saturday, February 6, 2010

Madonna of the Rabbit

madonna-with-a-rabbit--3808-mid

Are you familiar with this painting?   It is entitled Madonna of the Rabbit

Isn’t it beautiful.   Paige recently found this picture on The Louvre’s website. 

At first she liked it for the beauty of it and the rabbit in it.   Then she started researching and learning about the symbolism in the picture.   Here are some of the things she learned and passed along to me.    Now I enjoy the painting so much more.

The basket has two types of fruit in it ~ apple and grapes.  The apple represents the original sin;  the grapes represent Jesus’ blood shed for us.

During the time of this painting it was believed that the female rabbit could reproduce without a male rabbit’s contribution.   So it was a virgin rabbit and symbolized the Virgin Mary and the fact that it is white symbolized purity.

The painting is set in the Venetian countryside, the part of Italy where the artist Titian is from.

The Virgin is dressed in red and blue, the colors have come to signify the Virgin.

The other woman is a servant of sorts. She is kneeling in a servants posture but is dressed as a married woman from that era. The hint of marriage is intentional because the woman is actually Saint Catherine of Alexandria. During her life she had a vision of being married to the infant Jesus. The thing she is kneeling on is meant to be a wheel on which Saint Catherine was to be executed.  She had been attempting to show an Emperor of Rome that persecuting Christians was wrong. Everyone who was sent to her in the prison to persuade her to change her mind (including the Empress) was converted to Christianity. The Emperor was furious and demanded she be put to death on the wheel however, when she touched it, it broke into pieces. She was later beheaded and has sometimes been called the Great Martyr Saint Catherine. 

The wild strawberries in the bottom corner signify paradise.

The shepherd in the background is in sharp contrast with the main figures. He is supposed to represent the age of pagan gods that Christianity replaced.

Jesus is being held in a white linen. Sacred items are always to be held in this manner.  

This painting is a sacra conversazione,  or holy conversation. This type of painting portrayed the virgin with a saint. The Madonna is always in the center to signify her as an intercessor before God.

Some may not see this as a  painting of the Virgin and Child, but in the time period in Italy it always brought to mind the Virgin when a woman was portrayed with a child.

So there you have it.   A little Art Appreciation courtesy of Paige.  Hope you enjoyed it and we didn’t bore you.  We would love to see the original of this painting one day.  

 

22 comments:

Julie said...

oh my goodness that was awesome... thanks so much for sharing!!!

Susan said...

How interesting!!!!

Floss said...

That's absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much.

I'm reading The Name of the Rose at the moment and that also reminds me of how much hidden symbolism there has always been in art.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow Joy... That is amazing... I've never heard of this one nor seen it.. BUT- the symbolism is amazing... Thanks for sharing it.

Hugs,
Betsy

Karin said...

That was quite a fascinating art appreciation lesson! Thank you!

Melody said...

That was wonderful. What a beautiful picture! I love the story behind it.

Mrs.Oz said...

Neat art lesson! It's so fun to learn things that are more than the obvious. Thanks for sharing.

Brenda said...

Very interesting, I love this kind of stuff. We would love to take an art tour of Europe, especially art as it relates to the evolution of religion.

C said...

That was a lot of interesting information right there, Joy-ie! :)

I personally enjoy history information when it's all about a piece of art! :)

A lot of saint-ism going on here, though! Very Catholic! :)

Love,
C

Tammy@InStitches said...

Thanks for sharing that, I feel smarter now !

Louise said...

That's fascinating. I'd love to be able to decipher the symolism of such paintings. It's like reading a mystical secret message!

Brenda said...

That's really neat how she studied that out. Thanks for sharing!

Berni said...

I have never seen that picture before thanks for the review. Great Paige is interested.

tricia said...

very interesting!

Tracy P. said...

Beautiful! We had a L'Ouvre exhibit at our Art Institute recently, but I didn't get to it. I wonder if by chance that one was here.

Mrs.Oz said...

Joy, I'm calling for a prayerful blog fast:
http://whatsupwithusnow.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-challenge-you-blogging-woman-blog.html

Pamela said...

That is a very beautiful picture! Thanx for sharing and thanx for stopping by earlier!

Tara said...

How neat. Had no idea. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes we look at art and don't understand it, but there is usually a story behind it from the artist point of view. My sister paints prophetically and sometime I look at one of her paintings and say, HUH? Then she tells me what was going through her mind when she was painting it and I say, WOW!
Hugs,
Tara

Apron Senorita said...

Just totally adorable and a wonderful vision.

Yoli :)

Jennifer@3sonsandadaughter said...

Joy, thank you for visiting! I surely appreciate it... What a great post this was! Very interesting information regarding all of the symbolism... Thanks!

Becca said...

You didn't bore me at all- very cool info!

~Becca

Deb said...

very pretty painting...