This paper is a critical analysis of the Virgin Mary giving the Rosary to St. Dominic and St Catherine of Siena which is an iconic piece of art that is displayed in the Fine Arts Museum of the University Academic Center at Houston Baptist University. This art will be presented by detailing the description, the symbolism, a theory of the unknown artist and periods, and the aesthetics of truth, beauty and spirituality.
The ivory plate carving depicts Mary with Jesus standing in her lap. To her left she is handing St. Dominic (b.1170, d. 1221) a rosary. On the right is St. Catherine of Siena (b.1347 d. 1380) . It appears as if the infant, Jesus, is also handing her a rosary. It is common knowledge that this piece represents the Catholic religious sect because of the figures in purgatory carved at the base of the plate because their commitment to the belief of purgatory is well defined in history.
Images of St. Dominic can be identified in this picture by the dogs, lilies and the rosary, which is common in most visual artist renditions for this era. There is a 15th century legend stating that the rosary worn around his waist was given to him by the Virgin Mary. The lilies are a representation of his notable chastity. The dog is a pun on “domini canis” which is “dog of the Lord”. St. Catherine of Siena also is represented by lilies due to her virtuous youth. She is also known as having a possible stigma which is the cross of Christ probably located on her hands as
imprinted with the cross of the rosary. Mary in this case is most interesting. She is a representation of “the women, rooted in tradition, are able to embrace the present with a caring tenderness that gives birth to a new life with all of its inherent possibilities…but she is not the typical mother.” Mary’s lap holds the most valuable figure of this carving, the infant Jesus. Even as an infant, his presence changed the world.
The piece of art analyze is a detailed ivory carving styled after a painting by an anonymous artist which hangs in the Church of Santa Agata, Trastevere, Rome which was painted about 1600. The carving artist is also unknown; but, research of the different styles of ivory carvings for the period, one could assume that this might be the work of Adam Lenckhart (1610-1661). His work, Lamentation beneath the Cross, 1632 is very similar in style. Another piece that this artist created, also styled in the same manner, is Assumption of the Virgin, 1632. He studied in Italy and his work often had a distant background with a detailed foreground. This style can be seen when viewing the carving with Mary, St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. The ivory carving (in the HBU museum) appears almost translucent which is a dominate style that characterizes the work of Lenckhart.
The Baroque Artistic Era began in Italy at the ending of the Renaissance period. The Virgin Mary giving the Rosary to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena is universally aesthetic...