The Turtledove: a Symbol of Chastity and Sacrifice
Filozofski fakultet u Rijeci, 2009; Series: IKON volume 2
I will discuss the symbolical meaning of the turtle dove in representations of The Presentation of Christ in the Temple in European Late Antique and Medieval Art. The turtle dove is included in these scenes because it is the sacrificial bird, mentioned in the Gospels, which was brought forth at the Lord’s Presentation. But since this bird in the Middle Ages was also a widely known symbol of chastity, its presence in this connection must be related to the Purification of the Virgin; an event which is described as immediately preceding the Presentation. In this article the typical High and Late Medieval Presentation will be compared to the earliest extant example of this motif, the one on the triumphal arch in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, where the chastity aspect has a different nuance. In this latter case the rite of purification must, rather, be related to the Church and its Orders.
1846-8551; DOI: 10.1484/J.IKON.3.39
Last update January 16, 2022