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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Medieval Limestone Statue of the Virgin and Child

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LOT 0401

Sold for (Inc. bp): £12,350

45 3/4 in. (105 kg, 116 cm high).

A large carved limestone statue of the standing Virgin Mary carrying infant Jesus on her raised left arm; wearing a high crown with flowers and a veil, beautifully carved oval-face with delicate facial features and downcast eyes, framed with wavy locks emerging from underneath the veil, dressed in a belted tunic and voluminous coat falling in supple drapes around her body; the infant dressed in a long tunic and holding a bird in his left hand; traces of pigment and gilding; mounted on a custom-made stone base. [No Reserve]

Osenat, 30 June 2013, lot 158.
Ex central London gallery.
Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11409-192181.

Cf. for a similar example of a late 14th century statue, see the tympanum of the door of the church of the convent of El Carme (Barcelona), in National Art Museum of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain, Inventory no. 009878-000; cf. other similar examples in the MET, accession nos. 41.190.279 (first half of 14th century); 37.159 (1340 circa); 39.63 (1300-1330); no.17.120.1; cf. Lee, J. M., ‘A Souvenir on Your Hat: Medieval Christian Pilgrims' Badges’ In Raguin, V.C., Bangdel, D. and Peters, F.E., Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, Chicago, 2010, p.204, fig.1.

The Virgin and Child represents one of the most frequent subjects in the Gothic medieval sculpture in the 14th century, motivated by the development of the cult of the Virgin and the increase in the veneration of Mary. These carvings were not limited to churches, but were also found in shrines, entrances to towns, and inside private chapels. The youthful and elegant appearance of our Virgin and Child links it to the international Gothic style, responding to the same ideals of grace and beauty. The long wavy hair, the rounded forehead, the almond-shaped eyes and the delicate smile are widespread stylistic features found in several regions among Germany and France (in particular Lorraine, Burgundy, Île-de-France, Loire Valley, Bourbonnais, Meuse Valley). Despite this, Mary maintains the image of the Queen of Heaven and of the Universe, highlighted by the crown that frames her head. The presence of the bird in the hands of the child is a clear reference to the events narrated in the Apocryphal Gospels, where the Infant Jesus transformed terracotta birds into real birds. However, the bird was also a well-known symbol of the human soul and represented the Christ himself.