RING, Ludger tom, the Younger
(b. 1522, Münster, d. 1583, Brunswick)

Vases of Flowers

Oil on oakwood, 63,4 x 24,6 cm (each)
Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster

The symbolic use of flowers in the late Middle Ages is reflected in the paintings by Ludger tom Ring the Younger. The picture shows white lilies in the one painting and golden brown irises in the other. Both vases bear the same Latin inscription, running diagonally downwards. The complete sentence would have read 'IN VERBIS IN HERBIS ET LA[PIDIBUS DEUS]' (God is in words, in plants and in stones). This aphorism summarizes the link, derived from the Bible, between the preaching of God's Word and botanical symbols of salvation. The artist seems to intended these paintings as wall decoration for a pharmacy, as the aphorism can be regarded as a motto which reflects pharmaceutical theory and practice as proclaimed by Paracelsus a quarter of century earlier.

The artist studied with his father Ludger tom Ring the Elder, then travelled to the Netherlands, and to England in 1550. He painted mainly portraits, but also still-lifes that were influenced by Dutch artists.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Franz Schubert: Blumenlied (Flower Song) D 431