A Rose of Such Virtue

Sacred and Secular Love in the Waning Middle Ages
Much of the courtly poetry from the 12th to the 15th centuries can be summed up, as Robert Morton does in his exquisite chanson from the latter 15th century, with one phrase: “Vive Ma Dame!” The Lady, the absolute, flawless, most worthy object of chivalric desire, is surely one of the most mysterious and intriguing elements of medieval art. Her frequent portrayal as a flower, particularly a thorny rose, only emphasizes the cost of granting her one’s devotion. But the symbols of the lady and the rose are simultaneously also images for the virgin mother. Asteria explores the dual nature of these themes with beautiful English and French music from the early 15th century.

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