All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Noa Turel

Advisory Committee Members

Heather McPherson

Tanja L Jones

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


From c.1475 to the early 1480s, a new image type appears in Bruges featuring the Virgin and Child under a cloth of honor with various garden motifs against the backdrop of a contemporaneous cityscape of Bruges. In this thesis, I establish for the first time the images in the Bruges Virgin type as a group in relation to the reign of Mary of Burgundy, Duchess of Burgundy (1477-1482). Analyzing the motifs of the cityscape of Bruges, the enclosed garden theme, and the Virgin and Child, I argue that the Bruges Virgin type alludes to and evokes Mary and her young son, Philip. These paintings started cropping up at the beginning of Mary’s reign, and practically ceased in production in the late-1480s, following Mary’s untimely death in 1482. The chronology of the Bruges Virgin type images points to a direct connection with Mary of Burgundy and her unusual reign as—using her own term—a duke. The examination of the rich traditions of the Burgundian Netherlands and their dukes allows for the consideration of this image type in relation to Mary of Burgundy. This first part of the examination focuses on Mary of Burgundy, her reign, and devotion to the Virgin Mary, which shows that Mary fashioned her image as that of a redeemer ruler and was a devout Christian, who sought to be Mary-like. The second part analyzes the customs associated with Burgundian processions, which involve Christological comparisons, name associations, and the acts of giving and receiving between the dukes and their subjects. The final part of this thesis explores the fascination with Mary as a ruler and the widespread appeal of the Bruges Virgin type. The Bruges Virgin type communicates a new pictorial view on the understanding of Mary of Burgundy and the larger Burgundian territories.



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