Enthroned Virgin and Child
Limestone, with original polychrome and gilding
France, Lorraine, c. 1330
This superb representation of the enthroned Virgin and Child is carved in the round from fine grain hard limestone. Produced in the second quarter of the 14th century, the state of preservation is exceptional with extensive remains of the original polychrome and traces of gilding.
The Virgin sits on her throne with decorated side arcatures leaning slightly on her right hip, this posture caused by the position of the Christ Child who stands on his mother's left knee, her left arm wrapped around him just below the waist.
He has delicately carved curled tufts of hair and wears a long tunic with three diagonal pleats from beneath which his feet appear, the folds of material expressive of the youthful movements of the child who turns to his mother holding a bird by its wing in his right hand.
The bird may be seen as a reference to an episode from the childhood of Jesus when he modelled sparrows from clay and gave them life or, more commonly, as symbol of the Eucharist and redemption.
Private collection, France
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