ENTHRONED VIRGIN WITH CHILD

Carved and polychromed wood
Around 1280-1290
114 cm
Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid

Polychrome wood carving depicting the Virgin seated on a throne with Jesus seated on her left leg, representing the iconographic model of the “Sedes Sapientiae” or “Throne of Wisdom”. Although the piece is preserved in its entirety, the figure of the Virgin lacks the crown, which originally would also have been made of polychrome wood (as shown by other pieces from the same group), and was probably lowered at a later time to replace it with another metal one.

With wide diffusion in Marian imagery since the 12th century, this type of representation suffers throughout the second half of the 13th century a series of changes that derive from the monumental stone sculpture, from the innovations of the master of the Sarmental cover of the Cathedral of Burgos. Both in the north-east of Burgos and Rioja, Alava and especially in Navarre, this model is accepted and spread, being transferred to wood, and it is considered that at the end of the 13th century, its own typological and decorative charcateristics are established, constituting what is known as “Group A”, within the “Basque-Navarre-Riojan Type. It is in the southern part of Navarre where the carvings considered the most perfect of this group are made.