GOES, Hugo van der
(b. ca. 1440, Ghent, d. 1482, Bruxelles)
The Adoration of the Shepherds (detail)1476-79
Oil on wood
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
The picture shows a vase and a glass containing orange lilies, the symbol of the Passion, three irises, Van der Goes's favourite flower, and a few columbine stalks, the emblem of melancholy and a common symbol of the Virgin's pains. A sheaf of corn lies flat on the ground behind these flowers, alluding to the Incarnation and the Eucharist.