The Virgin in the enclosed garden - three walks in Maurice Denis’ mundus imaginalis Cover Image
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La Vierge au jardin clos – trois promenades dans le mundus imaginalis de Maurice Denis
The Virgin in the enclosed garden - three walks in Maurice Denis’ mundus imaginalis

Author(s): Andreea Apostu
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Visual Arts
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: virgins in art; hortus conclusus; Postimpressionism; Maurice Denis; garden of courtly love;

Summary/Abstract: Among Maurice Denis’ favorite subjects, the virgin in an enclosed garden is one of the most prominent and mysterious figures. The aim of our article is to identify the sources of inspiration for this common place in the Nabi’s iconographical repertoire, most of them medieval, and to analyze the way in which different significations can coexist in the same painting. Our thesis is that the canvases representing young women in enclosed and enchanted gardens can be interpreted in at least three different ways: as an illustration of the parable of the ten virgins, as a hortus conclusus, associated with the Virgin Mary, and as a reinterpretation of the medieval vergier, where the encounter of the lady and the knight usually took place. These three hermeneutical keys are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary, they coexist to form an intricate semiotic structure, which encloses the mystery of feminity and its undeniable connection with the absolute, in Maurice Denis’ mundus imaginalis.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 41-52
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: French