preview

The Master of the Saint Lucy Legend's "Mary Queen of Heaven": A Visual Analysis

Powerful Essays
Mary, Queen of Heaven, by the Master of the Saint Lucy Legend, is a striking example of Marian art. The work, when first viewed, might seem straightforward-a typical, albeit large, representation of the Virgin Mary's ascension to heaven- an event represented countless times in religious art. However, this is no ordinary Christian painting. Every inch contains symbolism, intricate details, movement, or religious iconography. Rather than simply being a piece to be viewed, Mary, Queen of Heaven offers an experience, and prompts in its viewers consideration and reflection of the imagery, as well as the greater message.
The Virgin Mary is depicted as the largest figure shown, taking up a large part of the composition, particularly vertically. She is placed almost directly in the center- making it very clear that she is the subject of the work. The work, measuring 78 7/16 x 63 11/16 in, seems to dwarf the viewer, while the subtle details prompt the viewer to take a closer look. The result is the illusion of being engulfed by the image- the viewer is very nearly in the scene along with the Virgin. The grand size serves to mirror the importance of The Virgin Mary in Christian belief, while at the same time making it easily viewable from greater distances. The size, subject matter, and iconography of the work suggest that this piece was created as a devotional panel, for display in a church, shrine, or oratory.
The work contains imagery that suggests three different events in the bible: the coronation of the Virgin as queen of heaven, the assumption of the Virgin to heaven, and the apocalypse. Mary is shown surrounded by angels that reach out to her, guiding her up to Heaven- where the holy trinity are waiting to crown her. This de...

... middle of paper ...

...le as Queen of Heaven. She is dressed in a fine velvet robe edged with gems, and wearing a crown of jewels. Even the colors of her robes- rich blues and reds- convey her noble status in heaven. Her eyes are partially closed, and her hands together in prayer, giving her a serene and holy appearance, despite the flurry of activity around her. The Virgin appears as if she is brightly illuminated, implying that she is an enlightened figure and accentuating her holiness.
Mary, Queen of Heaven, by the Master of the Saint Lucy Legend is not only grand in size, but also in message. There is a great deal of symbolism, delicate details, and religious imagery. However, the Artist is successful in drawing the viewer in to the work, prompting them to carefully consider the skillfully rendered details and imagery, as well as the greater story and ideas that the piece represents.
Get Access