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rosary workshop - Open Rosary Gallery
PRAYER BEADS in ART
an important symbol of our faith
and of the one who holds the beads for their portrait

 A COLLECTION 
OF PAINTINGS SHOWING ROSARIES
The rosary has been worn throughout history not only by religious but devoted laity. There are periods of history, especially the 15th and 16th century when the rosary became stylish to wear. Coral was very popular.  And for many, the more elegant the rosary the more impressive it became. This caused great concern amongst religious who would ban wearing of rosaries from time to time.
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 The purpose of this little museum is to show how the rosary was imaged by early painters as it was a tradition to include symbols or attributes with the figure to show interests or their love for God. The rosary was worn by many saints and martyrs so to picture it was important. For more resource information please contact the museums listed below. (Pictures link directly to Museum)
SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP


for more infromation see
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS   -   DISKS & LARGER BEADS
CORAL & POMANDER   -   COUPLES in ART
PRAYER BEADS IN ART   -   GERMAN MADONNA



~ MARY, QUEEN of SCOTS ~
  MARY STUART
(1542 -1587)
for more information on Mary Queen of Scots enter here
 (for more information click icon)
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MARTYRED FOR HER FAITH
The sun shines through the beads of her rosary, appearing to be like droplets of blood.
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BELOW: She wears a 20 bead rosary or chaplet hooked to her waist.
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS - for more information, click this image
According to the 
PORTRAIT GALLERY "
20 BEAD CHAPLET
... she wears a rosary with an
enamelled cross showing the 
Biblical scene, Susannah and the Elders. This was taken to
symbolize the triumph of truth over  false accusation." 
 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
1578 - 1620 (ORIGIN, ARTIST UNKNOWN) 




~ DISKS and LARGE BEADS ~
  TWO PAINTINGS FROM 15c
Showing several prayer bead styles used during the 15.c
1430 - 1500
Friedrich Herlin 

Women praying  rosaries, 3 coral and 1 prays the counting disks. 
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COUNTING DISKS
Flat disks attached to a leather thong or tied into a fiber cord are turned over one at a time as prayers are counted. 
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click to see full tryptych
(tryptych, left panel)
ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS -1480

Hugo Van Der Goes
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence
(to see full image, click icon)


ABOVE: Flat bone discs were used until recently for counting prayers. Pater beads appear to be amber. Rosaries of coral were believed to not only have healing properties but to give wisdom. (Middle Ages).
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1430 - 1500
Friedrich Herlin 

Kneeling Men counting prayers on large beads that may be wooden. large Paters or 'Gauds' are of an unknown substance.
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GAUDS OR PATERS
The Pater beads of the period became very 'Gaudy' or ornate so were called 'Gauds'



~ CORAL & POMANDER BEADS ~
 POMANDER
 (French pomme dambre, i.e. apple of amber)
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A pomander, in its original concept, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris, musk, cloves or myrrh or civet . it was  worn or carried in a box or case often shaped like flowers and other natural shapes or a bead, as a protection against infection during times of pestilence and plague.  Coral was considered to carry special healing powers so was very popular to use along with the pomancer beads.
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click to see full painting
from
PORTRAIT
OF A YOUNG
MAN WITH A ROSARY - 1509
Hans Galdung Grien,  Royal Collection, Windsor
(to see full image, click icon)
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ABOVE: Grien was from Schwabish Gmund, a small are in Germany known for its silver craft work and filigree Rosary Making  BELOW: Portrait of the Artists Father by Albrecht Durer (The Uffizi Gallery - Florence)
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click to see full painting see link above
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST'S FATHER - 1490 (to see full image, click icon)
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 2nd BELOW: Little baby Jesus resting on his mother's lap wearing coral rosary around his neck.
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click to see full altarpiece
MONTEFELTRO ALTARPIECE - 1465
Piero Della Francesca
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
(to see full image, click icon)
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FILIGREE BEADS
(The pomander beads were usually filigree or openwork so the aromas could escape) It was also used to modify bad smells as baths were not a daily event.  (See examples pomander and coral below on rosaries)



~ COUPLES in ART ~
TWO WONDERFUL EXAMPLES of
POMANDER and CORAL
   Claus Stalburg des Reichen (1469-1524)

Unknown Master
(Städel Museum
Frankfurt Germany)

< Image of Claus Stalburg 
des Reichen (1469-1524).
Note differences in large Pomander beads and the
count of 4 sets of 6 coral (Ave) beads with 3 gauds (Paters). 
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POMANDERS ON ROSARIES
Pomanders were hung from a neck chain or attached to the waist or on a rosary. Royalty and wealthy preferred Pomanders of precious medals (gold or silver) and often set with precious stones while the common folk wore simple cloth bags around their necks. It was not unusual for a Pomander to have several partitions to divide different aromatic herbs, spices, crushed flowers or perfumes. The British Museum has an an early 16th Spanish pomander set with emeralds, that was found in the Thames. If only it could talk!
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Claus Stalburg  des Reiche's wife Margarethe of the Rhine.
Unknown Master
(Städel Museum
Frankfurt Germany)

<Image is of Claus Stalburg  des Reiche's wife Margarethe of the Rhine. Her praer beads hold 4 sets of 10 (Aves) and 5 Gauds (Paters)
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SWEET INCENSE OF PRAYER
  Others believe the aroma is like the ‘sweet incense of prayer rising to heaven’ and is given to God. The circle of beads will eventually be seen as similar to a wedding ring or God never ending. Women also enjoy adding small trinkets such as figurines, images and gemstones to their rosaries along with the scented dried fruit and flowers.
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CORAL
Coral was believed to carry special healing powers and give the pray-er or wearer spiritual insight, an open heart and protection against evil. Very popular usage in rosaries for children as well as adults.  Coral was also believed to enhance ones memory.




~  PRAYER BEADS in ART ~
LARGE CORALS 
BELOW: Large coral Ave beads are punctuated with metal Paters suggesting the configuration may be smilar to todays's rosary.
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from
PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN - 1527
click to see full painting
Joos Van Cleve
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence
(to read more , click icon)
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FOLLOW THE LINKS 
BELOW FOR MORE PORTRAITS
 More portraits below showing attributes of the subject of importance in the painting. 
PORTRAIT OF A LADY WITH A ROSARY - 1609-1610
 Peter Paul Rubens - Lugano -Castagnola, Switzerland
hard to see in this image but shows the interest in symbolism of faith
UNKNOWN MAN WITH ROSARY
Quentin Massys - Kunstmuseum Basel - Basel, Switzerland
hard to see in this image but shows the interest in symbolism of faith
PORTRAIT OF GIOVANNA TORNABUONI - 1488
Domenico Ghirlandaio - Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
prayer beads hanging on the wall behind her head - red beads with tassel
THE MAGDALENE READING - 1445
Rogier van der Weyden - National Gallery - London
 see closeup below - single strand 3 lg white beads, 16 amber, tassels on each end
VIRGIN OF THE ROSARY OF GUAPULO - 1680 
         Unknown artist - The Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York
Peruvian (Cuzco) in origin and in the style of the arts of the Spanish Americas
MAN WITH A ROSARY - 1525
Jan Gossaert - The National Gallery - London
 hard to see in this image but shows the interest in symbolism of faith
AN OLD WOMAN WITH A ROSARY - 1896
Paul Cezanne -  The National Gallery - London
hard to see in this image but shows the interest in symbolism of faith
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN WITH A ROSARY - 1509
 Hans Galdung Grien - Royal Collection - Windsor
from Schwbish-Gmund (rosary making center) showing early rosary, possibly filigree
MARRIAGE OF ARNOLFINI - 1434
Jan Van Eycks - The National Gallery - London
Hanging on the back wall of this painting, a strand of 30 beads, tassled at each end
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST'S FATHER - 1490
Albrecht Durer - the Uffizi Gallery - Florence
figure of Durere's father holds and fingers large read beads in his hands
ROSARY BEAD - EARLY 16c
South Lowlands (Brabant) - Boxwood; Diam. 2 1/16 in. (5.2 cm)
Ex. coll.: Paul; J. Pierpont Morgan, New YorkGift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 
BEADMAKING FOR COUNTING PRAYERS
very interesting links to articles on beadmaking for prayers - wonderful for those 
working in depth on the history of rosary beads and how they were made and vended.
MEDITATION of the ROSARY 
click to see full altarpiece
Méditation des mystères du rosaire
15c
(to see full image, click icon)
 artist unknown 
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'All night she spent in bidding of her bedes
And all the day in doing good and Godly deeds'
Vision of Piers the Plowman
by William Langland - 1370
A COLLECTION 
BY BARTOLOME' ESTEBAN MURILLO 17th CENTURY
a study of Mary, Jesus and the rosary:
MADONNA OF THE ROSARY - ???
 Pitti Palace - Florence, Italy
THE MADONNA OF THE ROSARY - 1675 - 80
with angels at her feet - 
VIRGIN AND THE CHILD WITH ROSARY - 1650 - 55
Museo del Prado, Madrid
THE MAGDALEN READING - 1445
Rogier van der Weyden, National Gallery, London
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 A magnificent example of a single strand of prayer beads (amber) with a tassel at each end. Note too, the beads were drawn across the cord as they were said.
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closeup of open,
traditional amber
click to see full painting
beads ending with tassels.
(to see full image, click icon)
TRIPTYCH
 THhE MERODE ALTARPIECE 
(L' Annonciation - 1425,26 - left and middle panel only) 
Workshop of Robert Campin (South Netherlandish, active by 1406, died 1444) 
 The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpiece), ca. 1427–1432  
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BELOW LEFT: A man and woman kneel before an open door, facing the center panel (Annunciation) She holds a coral rosary with white beads at either end.  Oil paint on oak 
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closeup
showing open
click to see full painting
construction and beds..
(to see full 3 panel triptych image, click icon) 
 THE BETROTHAL OF 
ARRIGI ARNOLFINI AND GIOVANNA CENAMI - 1434 
Jan van Eyck The National Gallery,  London
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30 crystal clear beads reflect their light on the wall behind making it hard to tell if there are one or two rosaries!  An elegant Passementerie tassel, brobably of gold threads and boullion hang from each end.  This work is filled with symbolism including 10 miniature paintings of the passion of Christ aroun mirrors edge.
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close up of rosary 
click to see full painting
showing  reflection
 (to see full painting, click icon above)




~ GERMAN MADONNA ~
  1800's ARTIST UNKNOWN
Dated 1800s

Christ Child holds a rosary on his left arm, appearing to be 46 (?) wooden beads strung with no spacing. Possibly ending in a tassel.
 

 


SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP


for more infromation see

antique rosary museum index
history index


 

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