The forest path on which the Madonna walks abounds with red mushrooms.
identifies so closely with this autumn scene that her robe takes on
color and characteristics of the mushrooms.
Harasymowicz, Madonna z Krasnejjedli)
The mushroom is a
staple in Polish cooking, and the people gather a variety of succulent
wild mushrooms in the forests. The beautiful red mushrooms in the
painting, however, represent a poisonous variety. The Madonna’s dress
represents a mushroom stem and her cape represents the top and gills of
the red mushroom. By taking the danger upon herself, she is able to warn
the people against making a harmful choice. Although she is uncrowned,
the ermines at her feet are indicative of her royal status.
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