Scala/Art Resource, NY

Mary, mother of Jesus, is depicted on the Altarpiece of the Lamb, in the Cathedral of Saint Bavo, in Ghent, Belgium—completed by Jan Van Eyck in about 1432. In the Israelite cult and in later Judaism, the single, universal and invisible Yahweh was sometimes worshiped through one or several of his aspects: for example, through the concept of his presence (what the early rabbis called the Shekinah) or that of his name. Another aspect of God, his wisdom, appears in the Hebrew Bible personified as Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 1–9). In Christianity, Mary was sometimes identified as the Wisdom of God (or as Sophia, which means wisdom in Greek) and thus is often portrayed, as in the Ghent Altarpiece, holding an open book.