Collection: Mary, Queen of Heaven

ARTIST: Museum Religious Art Classics


Artist: Master of the Saint Lucy Legend – c. 1485 – 1500

This unusually large panel painting depicts three facets of Marian iconography: the Virgin's corporeal assumption, the Immaculate Conception—the crescent moon and the radiance behind her identify Mary as the Woman of the Apocalypse, mentioned in Revelation 12:1—and the Coronation of the Virgin. The painting is of great interest to musicologists in that it depicts Renaissance instruments with great accuracy and also reflects contemporary performance practices in the arrangement of the music–making angels. At the top, a full orchestra plays before the three figures of the Trinity. The ensemble around the Virgin is a mixed consort composed of "loud" instruments (trumpets) and "soft" instruments (lute, and harp). Two of the singing angels hold books bearing legible lyrics and notations.

Historians refer to the artist as the Master of the Saint Lucy Legend because his principal work, an altarpiece dated 1480, depicts episodes from the life of that saint. His style is characterized in both paintings by oval faces that are restrained in expression, the use of extraordinarily intense color, and a tendency to over–emphasize elaborate textures.