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The plot of this picture is the biblical legend of how the Virgin Mary and the carpenter Joseph were engaged. It was written by the talented artist Pietro Perugino in 1504 specifically for the Cathedral.
According to the Golden Legend, which describes the lives of holy people, Mary was a pupil of the Jerusalem Temple. After the girl reached adulthood, the clergy had to marry her to a decent and virtuous man.
To find a suitable candidate, they laid their hopes on a sign from above. All men who wanted to marry Mary had to leave their staves in the temple for the night. Whose staff will blossom will become her husband. By the command of heaven, only on the staff left by Joseph did the leaves bloom.
On the canvas "Betrothal of Mary" the painter depicted the scene of the wedding. The clothes of the clergyman are reproduced according to the Old Testament descriptions. He holds the hands of the bride and groom at the moment when Joseph puts the wedding ring on Mary’s finger. She already wears the future Savior under the heart. Joseph's feet are barefoot. On his left shoulder lies a flowering staff, as a symbol of the fulfillment of divine will.
At the edges of the picture is a group of people. Men are unlucky candidates for Mary’s hand, and women are her friends. In the background is a spacious square, paved with stone.
Its very center is the Jerusalem Temple. The picture strikes with its grandeur. Bulky domes, high arches, beautiful steps - all these are the techniques of ancient architecture. On both sides it is surrounded by a blue sky and soft lines of green hills, characteristic of that area.
Perugino's painting is built on contrasts and symmetry. Strict straight lines combine with rounded shapes, but the characters look vibrant and natural. A delicate color palette and an excellent recreation of every detail makes the picture an embodiment of the divine power that lives on Earth in everything.
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