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These pieces are called "Vierge Ouvrante," which roughly translates to "The Opening Virgin."  They are also known as "Madonna Shrines."  They were popular in the 15th and 16th centuries.The idea behind these is wonderful.  "God" - the Eternal - is within each of us, but is only known through Her as She carries the Fount of Life.  The mystical symbolism and meaning of these pieces of art are amazing.

These pieces are called "Vierge Ouvrante," which roughly translates to "The Opening Virgin." They are also known as "Madonna Shrines.The idea behind these is wonderful. "God" - the Eternal - is within

Quentin Massys (1465-1530) - Virgin and child surrounded by angels, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, c. 1500

Attributed to Quinten Metsys (Netherlandish painter, Madonna and Child Surrounded by Angels

Alberto_Sotio_-_The_Mourning_Virgin_Mary_-_Walters_371155.jpg (606×1798)

Alberto Sotio (Italian, active The Mourning Virgin Mary (tempera paint gold on parchment mounted on wood panel ca. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD)

Fra Angelico  Virgin and Child with Sts. Dominic and Catherine, 1435

Fra Angelico Virgin and Child with Saints Dominic and Catherine of Alexandria, , Pinacoteca, Vatican. Read more about the symbolism and interpretation of Virgin and Child with Saints Dominic and Catherine of Alexandria by Fra Angelico.

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