isenheim altarpiece colmarThe Dominican Church in Colmar, France was built in the 14th Century. There was a time it was not used as a church, then again it was, and then again not. Now it's a museum which houses just a few, but some very remarkable pieces. There's this Isenheim Altarpiece, for example which is certainly worth staring at for a while. But the star of the museum is the Madonna of the Rosebush (or sometimes Rose Garden) by Martin Schongauer, who was a student of one of my favorite painters, Rogier van der Weyden.
virgin rose bower colmarThe Madonna is seated among a tangle of rose stems wrapping around a trellis behind her. Her red garments are made even more dramatic by the red of the roses. I'd never heard of this painting before coming to Colmar, but I'm very glad I saw it. It's lovely. (It was orginally in St. Martin's Church in Colmar, if you're interested in such things.)
dog detail colmarWhen you get tired of looking at all the saints and so forth, you can take comfort in that some painters took a break too, and planted little angry dogs in the corners of saintly tableaux just to break up the monotony.

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