The Web of Marian Symbolism : The Iconography of Jan van Eyck’s “Lucca Madonna”
By Naoe Kukita
Hokkaido University Bulletin, Vol.9 (1997)
Abstract: The paintings of Jan van Eyck are characterized by the complexity and erudition of the iconographic program. Among the, the “Lucca Madonna,” through an intricate weaving of symbolic allusion, manifests some distinctive aspects of Marian piety nurtured in the spiritual milieu in which the religious symbolism reveals both theological truths and human values. In examining the symbolic presence of the Virgin mother of God, who embodies the most intimate relationship between divinity and humanity, this paper focuses on three aspects of the the Virgin Mary rendered in the “Lucca Madonna”: the Virgin as the nursing Mother of the Infant Christ; the Virgin as the Bearer of God; and the Virgin as the Bride of Christ. The examination demonstrates how van Eyck creates the world of intricate symbolism, elaborates the mystical and many-leveled indentity of the Virgin Mother and illuminates the themes of Redemption and the eternal union of the human soul with God.