Trampling the Serpent's Head

Trampling the Serpent's Head. Painted wood (?). Cathedral, Vivier, France. [Entire statue.] Photograph and text 2009 by George P. Landow. [This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose.]

This painted statue of Mary alludes to the complete typological pattern (or "scheme") by its comglomeration of symbolic images and scriptural references: The foot of Mary on the snake's head illustrates that part of Genesis 3:15 that states the serpent's head will be bruised while the apple in the snake's mouth both refers to the forbidden Edenic apple and the Christian claim that Mary is a second Eve, an antitype (i.e. fulfillemnt not opposite) of the mother of us all. Finally, the long-traditional moon on which the Virgin Mary stands probably ultimately from the iconography of the moon associated with the virgin goddess Diana.


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Last modified 29 June 2009