Madonna of the Rose Bower

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Madonna of the Rose Bower, c. 1440–1442. Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne

Madonna of the Rose Bower (or Virgin in the Rose Bower) is a panel painting by the German artist Stefan Lochner, usually dated c. 1440-1442, although some art historians believe it contemporaneous with his later Dombild Altarpiece. It is usually seen as one of his finest and most closely detailed works.[1]

The Virgin is presented as "Queen of Heaven", and is seated in a rose garden, symbolizing the heavenly Eden,[2] under a canopy with red curtains held apart by angels. She sits on a red cut velvet bolster, holding the Christ child in her lap.[3] Her crown and medallion are symbols of her virginity.[4] She wears a minutely detailed brooch, which contains a representation of a seated maiden holding a unicorn.[5]

Christ holds an apple, a symbol to signify him as the New Adam.[2] Hovering and seated angels offer gifts of roses and apples or play music. Five kneel in the grass before her, with instruments including a portable organ, others bear fruit.

The painting is heavily infused with symbols of innocence and purity, including the red and white roses.[6] The red roses and strawberries, by their red color, reference Christ's forthcoming Passion.[2] Mary sits before a curved stone bench, around which grow lilies, daisies and strawberries, with an acanthus flower blooming to her left. Mary herself is presented on a monumental scale, underscoring her regal status.[3]

Above her is pictured God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, together with God made Flesh sitting on her lap, Lochner has pictured the dogma of the Trinity.[2] This arrangement of God above her also reinforces Mary's divine motherhood.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chapuis, 274
  2. ^ a b c d Salvador-Gonzalez, José Maria (2014). "Sicut ilium inter spinas. Floral Metaphors in Late Medieval Marian Iconography from Patristic and Theological Sources". Eikon Imago. 6: 1–32.
  3. ^ a b Chapuis, 88
  4. ^ Wellesz, 8
  5. ^ Chapuis, 89
  6. ^ "Madonna of the Rose Bower, c. 1440 – 1442". Wallraf-Richartz Museum. Retrieved 26 April 2015


  • Chapuis, Julien. Stefan Lochner: Image Making in Fifteenth-Century Cologne. Turnhout: Brepols, 2004. ISBN 978-2-5035-0567-1
  • Wellesz, Emmy; Rothenstein, John (ed). Stephan Lochner. London: Fratelli Fabbri, 1963