Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Virgin and Child

Artist:
Attributed to Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, active in France, ca. 1380–1439, active Burgundy, 1396–ca. 1439)
Date:
ca. 1415–17
Geography:
Made in Poligny, Burgundy
Culture:
French
Medium:
Limestone with paint and gilding
Dimensions:
Overall: 53 3/8 x 41 1/8 x 27 in. (135.5 x 104.5 x 68.6 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Stone
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1933
Accession Number:
33.23
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 305
This monumental yet intimate image of the Virgin and Child was probably a gift of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy (d. 1419), or his wife, Margaret of Bavaria (d. 1424), to the convent they founded dedicated to the Franciscan order of Poor Clares at Poligny. As court sculptor to the Burgundian dukes in Dijon, the influential artist Claus de Werve, to whom this sculpture is attributed, created many works for his patrons, and this sculpture is one of his masterpieces. The curly-headed child Jesus looks up at his mother as she balances him and a large book on her lap. This tender moment between mother and son is, at the same time, a presentation of a sophisticated theological theme. The clue to understanding it is the Latin inscription on the bench. Taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, dedicated to and extolling wisdom, it reads, "From the beginning, and before the world, was I created" (24:14). Although by the thirteenth century the Church applied this text, which refers to Wisdom as a feminine entity, to discuss Mary, it was Christ as God incarnate who was seen as the personification of divine Wisdom on earth and Mary the vessel, or throne, that bore him.
From the Franciscan convent of the Poor Clares, Poligny, Burgundy; François Vuillermet, Poligny (in 1920); [ Georges J. Demotte (1877–1923), Paris and New York (1920)]; [ Jacques Seligmann, Paris and New York (1920-1933)]
Forsyth, William H. Medieval Sculptures of the Virgin and Child: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1939. fig. 17.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1952. no. 53, pp. 50, 60, 221.

Rorimer, James J., and William Holmes Forsyth. "The Medieval Galleries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 12, no. 6 (February 1954). p. 134.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Guide to the Collections: Medieval Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1962. fig. 54.

Müller, Theodor. Sculpture in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1966. pp. 57, 134, pl. 65.

Hoving, Thomas. "Director's Choice." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 28, no. 5 (January 1970). pp. 28-29.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. New York: Dutton Publishing, 1970. no. 155, p. 178.

Wixom, William D. "An Enthroned Madonna with the Writing Christ Child." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 57, no. 9 (December 1970). p. 294, fig. 19.

Beeson, Nora B., ed. Guide to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. no. 46, p. 221, fig. 46.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, edited by Kathleen Howard. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983. no. 44, p. 356.

Forsyth, William Holmes. "A Fifteenth-Century Virgin and Child Attributed to Claux de Werve." Metropolitan Museum Journal 21 (1986). pp. 41-63, fig. 1-6, 8-13.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 131, pp. 142-143.

Burn, Barbara, ed. The Life of Christ: Images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. ill. p. 22.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, edited by Kathleen Howard. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 45, p. 390.

Cleveland Museum of Art and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Art from the Court of Burgundy: The Patronage of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless 1364-1419, edited by Stephen Fliegel, and Sophie Jugie. Cleveland: Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004. no. 122, pp. 328-330.

Cleveland Museum of Art and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. L'art à la cour de Bourgogne: le mécénat de Philippe le Hardi et de Jean sans Peur (1364-1419), edited by Stephen Fliegel, and Sophie Jugie. Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004. no. 122, pp. 328-330.

Norris, Michael. Medieval Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. no. 30, pp. 120-21.

Boucherat, Véronique. "La Vierge de La Chaux-des-Crotenay: Un inédit de Claus de Werve." In La création artistique en France autour de 1400, edited by Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye. Rencontres de l'École du Louvre 19. Paris: École du Louvre, 2006. pp. 299, 302, 310, fig. 6.

Laguna-Chevillotte, Agnieszka. "Le Christ-Verbe: Remarques sur la fortune du thème dans la statuaire mariale de la mouvance royale." In La création artistique en France autour de 1400, edited by Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye. Rencontres de l'École du Louvre 19. Paris: École du Louvre, 2006. pp. 409, 419-20, fig. 11.

Wixom, William D. "Late Medieval Sculpture in the Metropolitan: 1400 to 1530." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 64, no. 4 (Spring 2007). p. 10.

Witt, Sabine. Die Skulpturen der Sluter-Nachfolge in Poligny: Stiftungen und Hofkunst in der Freigrafschaft Burgund unter den Herzögen aus dem Hause Valois. Korb: Didymos-Verlag, 2009. pp. 89-108, fig. 43, 44, 45.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012. p. 196.



Related Objects

Saint Paul

Artist: Circle of Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, active in France, ca. 1380–1439, active Burgundy, 1396–ca. 1439) Date: ca. 1420–30 Medium: Limestone with traces of paint Accession: 22.31.1 On view in:Gallery 305

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Date: early 15th century Medium: Gold, ronde-basse enamel, jewels Accession: 17.190.905 On view in:Gallery 306

Six Apostles from Retable

Date: late 14th century Medium: Limestone Accession: 16.32.169a, b On view in:Gallery 305

Situla (Bucket for Holy Water)

Date: 860–880 Medium: Ivory with gilded copper-alloy mounts and foil inlays Accession: 17.190.45 On view in:Gallery 304