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The Creation of Eve / The Birth of Mary

Photo: © Dombauarchiv Köln

The History of Salvation begins in the right-hand lancet with the Birth of Mary, the Mother of God. St Anne, Mary’s mother, rests on a bed and watches her servants bathing the new-born child.

The left-hand scene from the Old Testament shows the Creation of Eve. Eve stands before God the Father, who raises his hand in benediction. To the right we see the sleeping Adam from whose rib Eve was created.

The association between these two scenes is based on the medieval image of Mary as the new Eve.

Both panels do not originate from the Middle Ages, rather are new creations which were made during a big restoration project in 1900. The medieval originals were probably already lost by the eighteenth century. The subjects of the new panels were suggested by the canon Alexander Schnütgen. They correspond to a common iconography of the Middle Ages. Even the comparison of Eve and Mary corresponds to medieval thought. The execution of the new panels was carried out by the Cologne glass painting studio of Schneiders & Schmolz. (UBr)

Typós, from Greek, means prototype. The typological interpretation of the Bible, already found with Paul, presupposes that there is a salvational unity between both Testaments. The New Testament is seen as fulfilling the prophecy of the Old Testament. In this way, people and events of the Old Covenant (the types, or prefigurations) are related to Christ and the events of redemption in the New Covenant (anti-types). These are predetermined signs for the blessed events which will come from God. (UBr)

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