Virgin with the rosebush
Regensburg (?), c. 1300
H. 134 cm
Acquired from the art trade in 1916
Inv. No. 16/287
The Christ Child sits in a rosebush that is growing in front of Mary; he tenderly touches his mother's chin. This depiction combines the old idea of Jesus, who came from the root of Jesse - from the tribe of David - with the rich symbolism of roses around the Mother of God and the Christ Child. The medieval hymn "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen aus einer Wurzel zart" (A rose has sprung from a tender root), which is still known to many today, is also a reference to this. This sculpture is unusual for its time as it can be viewed from all angles. Only one other sculpture of this subject exists. It is exhibited at the Met Cloisters in New York; however in this version the child and rosebush are missing.