Friday, January 24, 2014

Merkel's Rhombus

Our chancellor likes to form a rhombus with her hands which I would consider a gesture of concentration. Until two week ago the nation thought that her habit had to do with her education. Being a physicist she surely had taken courses in mathematics aka geometry during her studies.

Angela's rhombus (©dpa).
I thought so too until two weeks ago, when the Badische Zeitung published a picture showing St. John, the apostle, on a painting in Freiburg's Augustinermuseum holding his hands like Angela. Some BZ readers criticized that the resemblance was pure coincidence but loyal readers of my blog know that Merkel was in Freiburg in December 2010. Why should she not have visited the museum copying St. John's posture?

A painting of 1540 in Freiburg's Augustinermuseum showing: St. John's ordeal.
The apostle is standing in a kettle of boiling oil (©BZ).
A known fact, however, is that at the time she was in Freiburg she visited the M√ľnster church together with French President Nicolas Sarkozy guided by Robert Zollitsch, the archbishop, in person. So Angela surely saw Hans Baldung's painting of St. Mary above the high altar, a picture the BZ published today.

Painting by Hans Baldung: God the Father and Christ - what some people consider
a daring pose with naked legs - jointly crown Mary as Queen of Heaven (©Wikipedia).
Now here is the evidence: Angela, daughter of a Protestant minister, in the tradition of Martin Luther* who adored the Mother of God, adopted St. Mary's gesture.
*To be precise: Luther in his sermons did not adore Mary as Queen of Heaven but as an example of humility and purity.

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