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Statuette  - The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
  • The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
    Mollart, Michel, born 1641 - died 1713
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The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (Dieppe, made)

  • Date:

    1675 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mollart, Michel, born 1641 - died 1713 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This statuette in ivory depicts the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception standing on the crescent moon and a serpent. This statuette is recorded as part of the collection of Dr Stevens in Antwerp in 1860. Originally the figure stood on a sphere on an elaborately carved base. It is made by Michel Mollart in Dieppe in 1675. A native of Dieppe, Mollart was a sculptor and medallist, active in Paris from 1684 to 1703, before returning to Dieppe. His medals were often based on others' models. From 1691 to 1697 he made inscriptions for the bronze medals for the Académie Royale for the Grande Histoire of Louis XIV.

Physical description

The crowned Virgin stands on the crescent moon and a serpent. Her hands are crossed and she is shown looking downwards to Her left. Her crown is damaged and part of the serpent is missing. She wears a long-sleeved gown, with ruffles at the cuffs and at the throat and a cloack which has an embroidered border is decorated with stars. Inscribed on the top of the crown is Michel Mollard 1675.

Place of Origin

France (Dieppe, made)


1675 (made)


Mollart, Michel, born 1641 - died 1713 (maker)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 22 cm

Object history note

Bought from Jacob Stodel under the John Webb Trust, for £900, in 1970. Probably in the collection of Dr Stevens, Antwerp by 1860; by 1877 probably in the collection of Dr Royen, Antwerp. Provenance unknown from 1877 until it was sold as part of the Schwarz Collection, Berlin, by Hugo Helbing, Frankfurt am Main, 24 May 1935, lot 204. Provenance again unknown from 1935 until it was bought by the museum in 1970.

Historical context note

The statuette is recorded in the collection of Dr Stevens in Antwerp in 1860. Originally the statuette had a sphere under the crescent moon which overlapped the section of the serpent which is now missing. The statuette was apparently undamaged and still retained its elaborate base when sold in Berlin in 1935.

Descriptive line

Statuette, ivory, the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, by Michel Mollart, France (Dieppe), 1675

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pinchart, A. Archives des Arts Sciences et Lettres, I, 1860, p. 255
Kramm, C, De Levens en Werken, 1859, p. 192, Q3
Pinchart. Messager des Sciences, Gand, 1858, p. 99
Würzbach, A. Niederländisches Künsterlexikon, II, 1910, p. 199
von Philippovich, E. Elfenbein, 1961, p. 137
Theuerkauff, C. Die Bildwerke in Elfenbein des 16-199 Jahrhunderts, Berlin, Die Bildwerke der Skulpturengaleries Berlin II, 1986, p. 225 and 226, note 7
Theuerkauff, C. 'Kleinplastik des Barock.....' in Kunst & Antiquitäten, 1/ 85, pp. 46-53
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 225

Labels and date

By Michel Mollart
NETHERLANDISH (Antwerp); signed and dated 1671

The Virgin is shown crowned, standing on a crescent moon, trampling on a serpent, the symbol of evil. Her robe is bedecked with stars. The crown, crescent moon and stars all refer to her identity as the Virgin of the immaculate conception, conceived without sin. Such a figure was almost certainly used for private devotional purposes. Michel Mollart specialised in ivory carving. He came originally from Dieppe in Northern France, but worked in the Netherlands.



Subjects depicted

Serpent; Moon


Sculpture; Religion; Christianity


Sculpture Collection

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