Monday, January 18, 2010


For today's Ruby Tuesday I have chosen the main piece of a carved
altar cupboard or triptych (double click to read more) in the Church of St. Mary in Bergen.
Altar cupboards are meant to be opened and closed at different times. When this cupboard is closed can see the Nativity scene, the birth of Christ in Bethlehem.
Although St. Mary traditionally is dressed in blue, the unknown artist has found it suitable with a hint of red.
The red really enhances this elaborate tree carved altar from early 14th century.
It was made by members of the tree carver's guild (double click to read more)from Lubeck. In Norway the Gesellen of the tree carver's guild and the stone mason's guild have traveled to the remotest places to build altars and minimal and greater stone churches.
You can read about the guild system in Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth.
Great novel about an age and craftsmen almost forgotten.

Here we go! It's Ruby Tuesday again!


EG CameraGirl said...

Beautiful carving and in very good condition. I'll have to read that Ken Follett book!

Carletta said...

What a magnificent piece! Although your photo is excellent I can't imagine how beautiful this is to see in person.
I am intrigued by the name Lubeck. There is a small community not far from me named Lubeck. I need to google that.
Lovely Ruby post!

Leora said...

Luscious colors in your Mary. Such a rich red and blue. I understand those colors were a sign of wealth in the "olden" days.

Leora said...

Luscious colors in your Mary. Such a rich red and blue. I understand those colors were a sign of wealth in the "olden" days.

Gemma Wiseman said...

An ornate and beautiful carving! Stunning photo!

Unknown said...

What a spectacular piece of carving. Beautifully photographed.

I have not been playing the photo games but I'm back now for at least a little while!

Have a wonderful week

Patti said...

The colorful triptych is absolutely beautiful. I remember learning about that kind of artwork in art history 101 in college. ;-)

Happy Ruby Tuesday, Felisol.

Ralph said...

The detailing is wonderful. Considering the wood used, to carve so intricately and paint so delicately required the steady hand and keen eye of the artisan. A hand built masterpiece!

Jim said...

Hi Felisol, this is a petty piece of art. Thank you for a historical rundown about the sculptor. I like it.
The vest is red but her main garment, a dress(??), is blue. That should calm down the critics somewhat.

Happy RT! BTW, I have a piece of the 1970's art for my RT!

Terry said...

hi is rather late but i wanted to come here and see what you had for ruby tuesday and i am not disapointed that i did.
this is such a lovely picture. it reminds me of what i have heard quite often that "mary held the child while that child at the same time was holding up the whole universe".
really nice dear terry

Ivon said...

I am always drawn to your Ruby Tuesday posts. Yes, you have awesome pictures; however, I am drawn to your comments about the picture. Say hi to my distant cousin.

John Cowart said...

The statue is a brilliant piece of art. Amazing that it is in that good a condition at that age.

I never know what I'm going to see when I click on your site.

Robin said...

What a beautiful carving. Thank you too for mentioning Pillars of the Earth. I remember my mother recommending it years ago and thinking that it sounded fascinating, but I could never remember the name of the book.

Margaret Gosden said...

Thanks for your book recommendation. The carving is handsome and well captured!

Kris said...

It is very pretty.

Actually, it is quite common in the classical tradition of art to depict the virgin mary in red AND blue. Often it is her robe that is red and the mantle blue. You can see examples of this in Raphael's madonnas as well as Rubens, Corregio, Tiepolo and others. It has to do with what the colours point to in iconography as well as the fact that blue was a very expensive colour to make.

Thought maybe you'd like to know. :P

At any rate, Mary is one of my favourite figures in "history"/religion. She fascinates me.

Chubskulit Rose said...

That's beautiful!

Sharing my son's 3rd birthday

Marice said...

wow that is really beautiful :)

u may view mine here

Dianne said...

that's very beautiful

Crown of Beauty said...

I wonder what the two other parts of the triptych look like.

All the works of art that man has created must surely have a place in eternity!

Yes, the guilds, the master craftsmen of olden times have created masterpieces that have withstood the test of time.

The blogworld alone attest to the vast amount of creativity that is found in the mind and heart of God!


Felisol said...

About the colors on Virgin Mary's altar cupboard.
The gold symbolizes Divine light.It refers to the heavenly character of the artwork (here; carving). It's meant to show that the alter is illuminated from within, without outer source of light.
The blue symbolizes the Divine nature of Virgin Mary. The is a preprotestantic piece of art, one of the few surviving in Norway, and Virgin Mary was worshiped as Divine Mother of God, that is Jesus.
Only the linen of both her mantle and her robe are colored with red. Red symbolizes the earthbound and the human nature.
Remark also that Virgin Mary has one blue and one red shoe.
She is human, but got a Divine status among Catholic in fact as long as the second Vatican Council.

The eminent renascence painters
were rebels and renewers of their time.
They did not stick strict to the old iconography.
My main sources are besides art history books, my good friend, Benedictine munch and icon painter brother Ole.
From Felisol

Rebecca said...

I have always been drawn to this kind of religious art...for it displays such beauty and declares the depth of glory that we miss when we move so fast through life. Oh, it is a richness that melts into a heart that will be still long enough to really look....

Trish said...

Wow! This carving is stunning! Thank you for sharing this bit of history with always, I find your heritage fascinating. How your people have preserved their way of life is something that I truly admire.
And Tobias is so handsome...I know that you ladies had a wonderful time with that charmer!

Amrita said...

I like old carvings and engravings - all the more beautiful if they depict holiness.

The craftsmen of Norway are very skillful.

Beautiful shot Felisol.

Debbie Petras said...

What a beautiful carving that is!

I wanted to tell you that I did a post on our family farm in Sumstad, Norway. I've reconnected with many of my relatives in Norway and the farm is still in the family. So, I wrote about it on Heart Choices.

Here's the direct link:

Love you,

Saija said...

nice colours ... :o)
you always find something unique, don't you!

while i was in arizona - there were a few car shows on the go ... one called barret jackson, is a huge auction ... i think you would have enjoyed something like that ...