Thursday, 2 October 2014

Damascus(?) roses in Botticelli's Virgin and sleeping Christ - 1490

‘The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child’ by Botticelli (IT 1445-1510)
Sandro Botticelli's composition, inspired by the work of Filippo Lippi, is unusual in two respects: canvas paintings were still uncommon at this time and the Christ Child was rarely shown asleep. This variation could be interpreted as a reminder of Christ's death. His future suffering for Mankind may also be symbolised by the detailed plants and fruits. The red strawberries, for example, may refer to Christ's blood. They also complement the beautiful (*Damascus?)rose bower which forms an 'enclosed garden', a symbol of the Virgin derived from the Old Testament Song of Solomon. The painting was probably designed for a domestic setting.   > Tekst: National Galleries Scotland

*For centuries, the Damascus rose (Rosa damascena) has been considered a symbol of beauty and love. The fragrance of the rose has been captured and preserved in the form of rose water by a method that can be traced back to ancient times in the Middle East, and later to the Indian subcontinent. A Persian scientist, Avicenna, is credited with the invention of the process for extracting rose water from rose petals in the early 11th century. It takes about 60,000 roses (about 180 lb) to make one ounce ( 29.57 ml) of rose otto - or to put in a different way 40,000 kilograms to make 1 liter of rose otto.

Rosa damascena

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