Half of a Prayer Bead with the Prayer of the Rosary


Not on view

The paired medallions of this relatively modest carving not only illustrate the use of boxwood prayer beads but also seem to echo the recommendation of the fifteenth-century Dominican theologian Alanus de Rupe for praying the Rosary. He advised that the first fifty prayers be said before an image of the Virgin and Child and the second fifty before an image of Jesus crucified. Here, the robe of the woman kneeling in prayer, a string of beads in hand, touches that of Mary, and Jesus looks straight at her. Does she kneel before a statue, an image in her own head, or a miraculous apparition? In the companion image, Mary, Saint John, and Mary Magdalene mourn the death of Jesus. Devotion has caused the collapse of time and space.

Half of a Prayer Bead with the Prayer of the Rosary, Boxwood, silver, Netherlandish

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