Marriage of the Virgin

painting by GiottoMarriage of the Virgin is one of the beautiful frescoes from Cappella Scrovegni a Padova. While not part of the canonical Gospels, it is covered in several apocryphal sources. However, there is no recorded information as to the ceremony itself.

In this fresco, the Italian painter Giotto, shares his vision for the marriage of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. Giotto appears to be following the betrothal legend in The Golden Legend. In the legend, all of the other young virgins living in the temple, who had reached womanhood were ordered to marry. Mary had vowed her virginity to God and was the only girl to refuse. The high priest prayed for guidance. A voice came forth which stated that all of the unwed and marriageable men of the house of David should bring a branch to the altar. The man who should be espoused to Mary would be the one who brought forth a branch that would burst into flower and the Holy Ghost would rest upon, in the form of a dove. Notice the flower and dove at the top of the staff between Joseph and the high priest?

Giotto (1267-1337) was known for blending the current painting styles with the dimensional aspects of sculpture. His works often had garments with folds in the cloth to create depth and space.

If you would like to see more of his work or learn about the artist, please visit our Giotto Biography.