Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Red Virgin

Francis Schaeffer points to Fouquet's painting The Red Virgin as an example of autonomous humanism developing in the fifteenth century. The painting is titled to be seen as a Madonna and Child, but the woman's exposed breast is crass and Schaeffer points out that the face of Mary is actually the face of the French King's mistress, Agnes Sorel. Shaeffer says, "Was this the Madonna about to feed her baby? No, the painting might be titled The Red Virgin, but the girl was the king's mistress; and when one looked at the painting one could see what the king's mistress's breast looked like." Shaeffer applauds the general movement toward realism, but here he says the meaning has been lost.

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