The Virgin and Child thumbnail 1
The Virgin and Child thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture 1300-1600, Room 26

The Virgin and Child

Statue
end of the 15th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The Virgin stands frontally on the crescent moon, supporting the Child who lies across her arms on a white cloth which he holds with his right hand. Her head is slightly inclined towards the infant Jesus.The shape of the crescent moon would not have provided sufficient stability for the figure to be placed in an altarpiece. In addition, the two rectangular iron bars, along with relatively large holes in the head and at the base of the crescent moon, and the elaborate carved and gilded back of the Virgin, suggest that the figure was in fact suspended from the vault, probably framed within a circle of the rosary.


object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted wood
Brief Description
Virgin and child; Wood painted German 15th cent
Physical Description
Figure in painted wood. The Virgin stands on the crescent moon supporting the Child who lies naked across her arms on a white cloth, which he holds with his right hand. The Virgin's hair falls in ringlet over her shoulders down her back. The Virgin's crown is missing and there are a few breakages on the edges of the folds, but the colour, gold on the Virgin's robe and brown for the hair, as well as flesh tints, appears to be early if not original.
Dimensions
  • Height: 114.9cm
Gallery Label
The Virgin and Child About 1520–5 Decorated with equal attention to the front and back, and with metal fixings on the top of her head, this figure was suspended from the vault of a church. Its theatricality was not unusual in German churches of this period. The biblical book of Revelation describes a woman, commonly associated with the Virgin, standing on a crescent moon and wearing a crown with twelve stars. This figure was originally crowned, possibly with a metal crown with glass or enamel decoration. Germany, Bavaria Painted limewood Purchased with funds from the Murray Bequest Museum no. A.21-1941(Nov 2010)
Credit line
Purchased with funds from the Murray Bequest
Object history
Purchased from Mr W.F Ohly for £250 with funds from the Murray Bequest.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The Virgin stands frontally on the crescent moon, supporting the Child who lies across her arms on a white cloth which he holds with his right hand. Her head is slightly inclined towards the infant Jesus.The shape of the crescent moon would not have provided sufficient stability for the figure to be placed in an altarpiece. In addition, the two rectangular iron bars, along with relatively large holes in the head and at the base of the crescent moon, and the elaborate carved and gilded back of the Virgin, suggest that the figure was in fact suspended from the vault, probably framed within a circle of the rosary.
Bibliographic References
  • Baxandall, Michael. South German Sculpture 1480-1530. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1974.
  • Jopek, Norbert. German Sculpture 1430-1540. A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2002, cat. no. 55, pp. 121-2.
Collection
Accession Number
A.21-1941

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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