Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Ave Regina Caelorum –The Queenship of Mary

Filippo Lippi, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, 1467-1469
Spoleto, Cathedral
Although the memorial of the Queenship of Mary was instituted in 1954 by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical “Ad Caeli Reginam1 the idea of Mary’s Queenship of Heaven is a very old one. Its antiquity is testified by the number of medieval images (following a visual tradition that goes back even further as demonstrated below) and by the several well-known medieval hymns that present it, the Salve Regina, Ave Regina Caelorum and Regina Caeli among them, and, of course, the final decade of the Rosary, which has been prayed for centuries, is the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

There is clearly a close relationship between the Assumption of Mary and her Queenship. It is, therefore, appropriate that the memorial of the Queenship of Mary, which was originally placed on May 31 by Pius XII, was moved by Pope Paul VI in 1969 to August 22, the octave of the Assumption, replacing the memorial of the Sacred Heart of Mary. 2

In the visual arts the image of Mary as Queen exists in two types: the Coronation of the Virgin and Mary as Queen of Heaven.  The image of the Queen of Heaven is older than that of the Coronation (see below).  However, although the Coronation is the newer theme chronologically, it is a logical development from the image of Mary as Queen of Heaven for, if Mary is a crowned queen, there must have been a moment of coronation,  and so, precedes it in this discussion.

Coronation of the Virgin

Coronation of the Virgin
Gothic, ca. 1250
Strasbourg, Cathedral
The images of the Coronation of the Virgin clearly present the crowning of Mary by Christ alone, by God the Father alone, by the Holy Trinity or by angels in the presence of God. Among the earliest monumental images are the tympanum of the south transept of Strasbourg Cathedral (above) and the apse mosaic from Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (below).
Giacomo Torriti, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, Mosaic, 1296
Rome, Santa Maria Maggiore

Crowning By Jesus

Early images concentrate on the figures of Mary and Christ.

Coronation of the Virgin
From Miniatures of the Life of Christ
French, c. 1170-1180
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 44, fol. 16r

Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1230-1240
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 92, fol. 14r
Coronation of the Virgin
French, 1250-1260
Paris, Musée du Louvre


Coronation of the Virgin
French (Paris), c. 1320
London, Victoria and Albert Museum

Nardo di Cione. Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1340-1360
London, Victoria and Albert Museum

Puccio di Simone, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1350
Ghent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten

Paolo and Giovanni Veneziano, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, 1358
New York, Frick Collection


Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1360-1370
London, Victoria and Albert Museum



Master of Saint Verdiana, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, Late 14th - Early 15th Century
Paris,  Musée du Louvre

Alabaster Coronation of the Virgin
English, 15th Century
London, Victoria and Albert Museum

Master of Morgan 78, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
Flemish (Tournai), c. 1450-1460
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 78, fol. 93v
Giovanni di Paolo, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1455
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection

Jean Colombe, Coronation of the Virgin
From Hours of Jean Robertet
French (Bourges), c. 1460-1475
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 834, fol. 76v
Simon Marmion, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
Flemish, c. 1475-1485
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 6, fol. 57v

Michael Pacher, Coronation of the Virgin
German, c. 1479-1481
St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut (Austria), Parish Church
Georges Trubert, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Avignon), c. 1480-1490
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 348, fol. 106r

Crowning By the Holy Trinity

As time passed and meditation on the meaning of Mary's place in salvation history deepened, the other persons of the Holy Trinity began to appear in representations of her coronation as Queen of Heaven.

Thus, from about the beginning of the fifteenth century, God the Father is sometimes shown as the crowner.

Coronation of the Virgin
From the De Lisle Hours
England (possibly York), c. 1316-1331
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS G 50, fol. 163r


Associate of the Lucon Master, Coronation of the Virgin with God the Father
From a Book of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1395-1405
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS S 9, fol. 91r

Coronation of the Virgin by God the Father
From a Book of Hours
French (Tours), c. 1460-1470
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 161, fol. 72r

Master of Jean Rolin II, Coronation of the Virgin by God the Father
From a Book of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1460-1470
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 1027, fol.115r

Coronation of the Virgin by God the Father
From a Book Of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1490-1500
The Hague, Koninklijk Bibliotheek
MS KB 76 F 14, fol. 52r

Follower of Jean Poyer, Coronation of the Virgin by God the Father
From a Book of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1515-1525
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 290, fol. 43v


At other times both Father and Son crown her and, at still others, all three Persons may appear.  When all three Persons appear the Holy Spirit may be represented as a third Person in human form or in the symbolic form of a white dove.

Coronation of the Virgin with Christ and God the Father
Austrian, 15th Century-New York,
Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection
Coronation of the Virgin by God the Father, watched by Saint John the Baptist and Christ
English, c. 1450-1500
London, Victoria and Albert Museum

Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From a Book of Hours
Italian (Venice), 1420-1455
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 1089, fol. 89v
Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From a Book of Hours
French (Anjou), 1440
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 157, fol. 81v
Follower of Master of Guillebert de Mets, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From a Book of Hours
French, c. 1445-1455
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 287, fol. 81r
Coronation of the Virgin by the Father and the Son
From the Hours of Louis of Savoy
French (Savoy), c. 1445-1460
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Latin 9473, fol. 64v

Jean Fouquet, Coronation of Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From the Hours of Etienne Chevalier
French (Tours), c.1450
Chantilly, Musée Condé  
MS 71, fol. 87
Workshop of the Master of Edward IV, Coronation of the Virgin by God the Father and the Son
From a Book of Hours
Flemish (Ghent), c. 1480-1490
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 278, fol. 100v
Master of Cornelis Croesinck, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From the Croesinck Hours
Dutch, c. 1489-1499
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 1078, fol. 117v

Masters of the Dark Eyes, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trintiy
From a Book of Hours
Dutch, c. 1490
The Hague, Koniklijk Bibliotheek
MS KB 76 G 16, fol. 124v

Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From a Book of Hours
Flemish (Liege), c. 1500
The Hague, Koninklijk Bibliotheek
MS KB 133 D 11, fol. 61v
Michael Sittow, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
Estonian, c.1500
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Simon Bening, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From the Da Costa Hours
Flemish (Bruges), c. 1510-1520
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 399, fol. 176v
Master H. L, Coronation of the Virgin
German, 1525
Niederrotweil (Germany), Parish Church of Saint Michael

Jesus Represented as the Man of Sorrows 

Up to the beginning of the fifteenth century, Jesus had always been represented as a kingly figure, fully clothed and frequently wearing a crown.  However, from the early fifteenth cnetury on the figure of Jesus may be represented in the form of the Man of Sorrows.  This image, which was an extremely popular one in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, depicts Jesus with a bare torso, showing the wounds of the Crucifixion and often wearing the crown of thorns and/or carrying a cross.  This alludes to the salvific act which was made possible through Mary when she accepted the words of the Angel Gabriel and formed his human body.


Master of Rubielos de Mora, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
Spanish, Early 15th Century
Cleveland, Museum of Art

Antoine de Lonhy, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From a Book of Hours
Italian (Piedmont), c. 1465-1475
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 57, fol. 74v

Master of Morgan 366, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Tours), c. 1465-1475
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 366, fol. 74r
Robert Boyvin, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Rouen), c. 1495-1505
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 261, fol. 57r
Late Follower of the Master of the Rouen Echevinage, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Rouen), c. 1495-1505
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 151, fol. 44r

From a Book of Hours, Coronation of the Virgin
French (Tours), c. 1505-1515
New York, Pierpont Morgan
MS M 250, fol..62v
Jean Pichore, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1505-1525
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 85, fol. 61v

Giulio Clovio, Coronation of the Virgin
From the Farnese Hours
Italian, 1546
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 69, fol. 48v-49r 

Images Incorporating Mary's Death and Assumption

Sometimes the scene is shown in direct relationship to images of the Dormition and Assumption of Mary, as it is in the images below.  Although the majority of these are found in manuscript illumination, it is also used infrequently by painters on panel and canvas.

From the Psalter of St. Louis and Blanche of Castille
French, c.1225
Paris, Bibliotheqe nationale de France
MS Arsenal 1186, fol. 29v
From Psalter-Hours of Ghuiluys de Boisleux
French (Arras), c. 1246-1260
New York, Pierpont Motgan Library
MS M 730, fol. 16v

Life of the Virgin
Leaves from the Ramsey Psalter
English (Ramsey Abbey), c. 1295-1310
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 302, fol. 4r

Ivory Diptych with the Death and Coronation of the Virgin
French, c. 1330-1350
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Master of the Jean de Sy Bible, Death and Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1370-1380
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 90, fol. 45r

Death and Coronation of the Virgin
From Psalter-Hours
French (Metz), c. 1370-1380
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 88, fol. 19v

Master of the Parement de Narbonne, Death and Corornation of the Virgin
From the Tres Belles Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry
French_c.1380
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Nouvelle acquisition latine 3093, fol. 76

Robinet Testard, Death and Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Poitiers), c. 1470-1480
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 1001, fol. 62r
Workshop of the Master of the Rouen Echevinage, Death, Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Rouen), c. 1475-1485
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 131, fol. 63r

Annunciation of the Death of the Virgin, Death of the Virgin, Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Paris), c. 1495-1505
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 5, fol. 74v

Raphael, The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, 1502-1503
Vatican City, Pinacoteca Vaticana

_Master of Claude de France, The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin
From the Prayer Book of Claude de France
French (Tours), c. 1515-1520
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 1166, fol. 23v-24r

Cosmic Images

Some representations present the event on a more cosmic scale so that it is seen against the entire panoply of heaven, before crowds of angels and saints.

Puccio di Simone, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1354-1357
Avignon ,Musée du Petit Palais


Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, Late 14th Century
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection

Niccolo di Buonaccorso, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1380
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection


Limbourg Brothers, Coronation of the Virgin
From the Tres Riches Heures of the Duc of Berry
Flemish, c.1410
Chantilly, Musée Condé  
MS 65, fol. 60v

Lorenzo Monaco, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, 1414
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

Fra Angelico, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1434-1435
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi


Fra Angelico, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, c. 1434-1435
Paris, Musée du Louvre

Jean Fouquet, Enthronement of Mary as Queen of Heaven
From the Hours of Etienne Chevalier
French (Tours), c. 1450-1460
Chantilly, Musée Condé  
MS 71, fol 113

Enguerrand Charenton, Coronation of the Virgin
French, 1454
Villeneuve-les-Avignon, Hospice

Workshop of Guillaume Vrelant, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
Flemish (Bruges), c. 1455-1465
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 387, fol. 127v

Jean Colombe and Workshop, Coronation of the Virgin
From a Book of Hours
French (Bourges), c. 1465-1470
New Yok, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 248, fol. 60r

Master of the Exrivainage and Workshop, Coronation of the Virgin
From City of God of Saint Augustine of Hippo
French (Paris), c. 1475-1500
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Francais 28, fol. 273v

Maestro de las Once Mil Virgenes, Coronation of the Virgin
Spanish, c. 1490
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

Vicente Macip, Coronation of the Virgin
Spanish, After 1521
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

From the High Renaissance to the End of the Baroque

From the period of the High Renaissance (beginning around 1500 in central Italy) through the Baroque and later periods all of these themes were incorporated into the images of the Coronation of the Virgin that were produced by artists.

Ridolfi Ghirlandaio, Coronation of the Virgin with Six Saints (Saints Peter Martyr_John the Baptist, Mary Magdalen, Francis and Thomas Aquinas)
Italian, c.1504
Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais

Giulio Clovio, Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity
From the Farnese Hours
Italian, 1546
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M 69, fol. 48v-49r
Paolo Veronese, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, 1555
Venice, Church of San Sebastiano

Tintoretto, Coronation of the Virgin
Sketch for decoration in the Palace of the Doges (Venice)
Italian, c. 1588
Paris, Musée du Louvre

Tintoretto, Coronation of Virgin (Known as the Paradiso)
Italian, c.1588-1590
Venice, Palace of the Doges

El Greco, Coronation of the Virgin
Greco-Spanish, 1592
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado
Annibale Carracci, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, After 1595
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Peter Paul Rubens, Coronation of the Virgin
Flemish, c.1620
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Giovanni Serodine, Coronation of the Virgin with Saints (Back row: Saints John the Evangelist, Peter, Paul and Sebastian.  Front row:  Saints Anthony Abbot and Charles Borromeo)
Swiss, c. 1625-1630
Ascona (Switzerland), Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul
Peter Paul Rubens, Coronation of the Virgin
Oil Sketch for an Altarpiece formerly in Berlin (destroyed 1945)
Flemish, c. 1632-1633
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Diego Velazquez, Coronation of the Virgin
Spanish, 1641-1644
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado
David Teniers the Younger, Coronation of the Virgin
Dutch, c. 1650
Munich, Bayerische Staatsgalerie, Alte Pinakothek
Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert, Coronation of the Virgin
Flemish, c.1650
Lille_Palais des Beaux-Arts
Sebastian de Herrera Barnuevo, Coronation of the Virgin
Spanish, c. 1653
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado
Charles de La Fosse, Coronation of the Virgin
French, c. 1672-1676
Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Pedro de Calabria, Coronation of the Virgin
Italian, End of 17th-Beginning of 18th Century
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado
Attributed to Michelangelo Unterberger, Coronation of the Virgin
Austrian, c. 1760
Vienna, Belvedere Museum

The Nineteenth Century

In the nineteenth century the tradition continued, but in a reduced form.  It seems to have lost some of its popularity to other images of the Virgin such as the Immaculate Conception, which received greater attention during the period.

Romain Cazes, Coronation of the Virgin
French, c.1850
Paris, Musée du Louvre

________________________
1, Pope Pius XII, “Ad Caeli Reginam”, Encyclical, October 11, 1954. It can be accessed in full at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_11101954_ad-caeli-reginam_en.html

2.  See section entitled "Feast of Queenship" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_Heaven#Feast_of_Queenship

© M. Duffy,  Originally written 2011. Revised and expanded 2019.