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Lot 25: Virgin and Child. Carved wooden gilt and polychrome sculpture. Circa 1275
27 October 2016
Barcelona, SpainLive Auction
Virgin and Child. Carved wooden gilt and polychrome sculpture. Circa 1275 - 1300.
Majestic image of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child. Mary is standing and holding the Child with her left hand, which is not in a frontal position. but facing sideways and in physical contact with the mother. He holds out His hand lovingly towards His mother´s chin to caress it. Mary responds to the gesture with a sweet smile, while she pulls him towards her with her left hand. The Gothic naturalism is imposed. Mary wears rich and courtly clothing. She is wearing a tunic cinched in with a belt and underneath a blouse which is closed with a large brooch. She is covered with an elaborate cloak, with a collar and pleats carved at the shoulder, a painted choker adorns her neck. She wears a rich crown and a short veil which forms complex and elegant folds. Through the characteristic oval face of the Virgin, almond-shaped eyes and very arched eyebrows, we can tell that this sculpture comes from the Álava region. Comparable sculptures could include, for example, the sculpture of Our Lady of Pilar from the church of Saint John, or the “Virgin with Child” from the doorway of Santa Mª de los Reyes, both in Laguardia, Álava, although this one is, in our opinion, earlier. In this type of sculpture, Mary is not yet a Romanesque throne to the majesty of Christ, although the composition of this group still reminds us of the image of the "Sedes Sapientae", if we look at the upper part of the sculpture we appear to be looking at a seated Mary. The first examples of sculptures with the Virgin standing and the Child in her arms appeared in France at the end of the 12th century, almost always made for the mullions of Gothic cathedrals. This would be the most widely disseminated motif found in religious imagery throughout most of the Middle Ages, especially with the growth in devotion and the Mary cult in the 12th and 13th centuries. 122 x 40 x 35 cm.