Hortus Conclusus STEP#3: The thematic context
Being done with the first idea, the figure sketching and the pictorial frame, I came to a point where I needed to be more specific about the thematic context I wanted for this painting. So I decided that Mary would sit among shrubs and flowers in a garden, by so recalling the emblematic enclosed garden in which Mary was often pictured in late medieval and renaissance art. After considering other possibilities, I came across with the idea of subdividing the composition into three layers of different flower species that would surround Mary and provide the graciousness and color that the scene was calling for.