THE VIRGIN WITH THE CHILD

Polychromed limestone

120 cm high

Lorraine (France), 15th Century

 

The sculpture is in fairly good condition. The surface is uniformly textured with fine tool marks, which in combination with the remains of the ground indicate that originally the figure was polychromed.

The most notable characteristics of this figure are the solidity of the pose, with the weight balanced between standing and flexed leg, and the smooth elegance of the surfaces. Although preserving the familiar iconographic conventions of Gothic art, the sculpture suggests more modern ideas by the serene mood reflected in the Virgin’s stance and the organisation of the drapery, which clarifies the relationship between the right and left sides of the figure.

The Virgin wears the dress of a contemporary lady, a full-skirted gown with a round-necked tight bodice and long sleeves. Over this, a voluminous mantle sweeps around her hips and is drawn up under the body of the Child. She is crowned, and her long hair streams down over her shoulders. Her long flowing hair, high domed forehead, and dainty features represent a specific ideal of feminine beauty and grace that emerges in Northeast of France sculpture around the mid-fifteenth century.