German chandelier sculpture, ca. 1430, depicting Frau Minne as queen
Frau Minne (vrowe minne) is the personification of courtly love from German Middle Ages. She is frequently addressed directly in Minnesang poetry, usually by a pining lover who is complaining about his state of suffering, but she also appears in the longer Minnerede poems, and in prose works.
She is often referred to as the “Goddess” of romantic love, which is differentiated strongly from other kinds of love such as Christian agape as embodied in the figure of Jesus. To make the distinction clear, romantic love is understood as passion, whereas Christian and Buddhist love is understood as compassion.
A rare allegorical painting of ca. 1400, discovered in a guild house in Zurich in 2009 (see below) shows Frau Minne presiding over the suffering of male lovers who are having their hearts torn from their…
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