Artibus et Historiae no. 24 (XII)

1991, ISSN 0391-9064

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YOSHIAKI NISHINO - Nicolas Froment's Burning Bush Triptych and Its Iconographical Program

The Burning Bush triptych by the fifteenth-century French painter Nicolas Froment allows a triple thematic reading involving, in addition to the Burning Bush, allusions to the revelations to St. Joachim and St. Joseph. These three themes are closely linked to typological interpretations regarding Christ's genealogy and, by extension, the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin which appeared frequently in the illustrations of the Biblia Pauperum and the Speculum humanae salvationis from the fourteenth century on. The interpretation of the genealogy of Christ is found in the Breviare Romanum, the possible source for the inscription taken from Exodus 111:2 at the bottomof the central panel, which is in accordance with the text of the Book of Hours in front of the donor in the right-hand panel Ecclesiastes 24:11); and in the Missale Romanum, in which the text of Proverbs 8:22-35, part of which is shown at the top of the panel, is followed by the account given by St. Joseph, husband of Mary, of Messianic genealogy in Matthew 1:1-16. The blessing bestowed by Moses on Joseph, son of Israel, in Deuteronomy 33:13-16, corresponds closely to Jacob's blessing in Genesis IXL:22-26 in its reference to the twelve tribes of Israel - which are represented by the figures framing the central panel -and thus could be the primary source for the thematic coupling of Moses and St. Joseph.

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