The Madonna of the Dry Tree

This delightful miniature is the work of Petrus Christus, a 15th century Flemish painter who was a disciple of Van Eyck.

It is a highly symbolic work. The Virgin Mary is seen holding the Christ child in her arms, on a dry tree, which represents the redemption of human kind, as new green buds sprout once more from the dead tree.

Despite its small size, we can see the beauty of the Virgin’s face, the colour of her dress and a typical feature of Flemish art: the studied arrangement of the folds of her mantle. Hanging from the branches of the tree, we can see the gothic letter “A” repeated several times. This is a reference to the Ave Maria, or Hail Mary prayer, so it is thought that this small picture may have been a rosary. The entire oval formed by of the dry branches is reminiscent of a monstrance, the precious metal holder in which the Host is placed once it has been consecrated.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero

Permission: This artwork is in the public domain: The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to E.U. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. In other countries, legislation may differ.