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Virgin and Child

Attributed to Claus de Werve (French, 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
  • Description

    This monumental yet engagingly intimate image of the Virgin and Child was probably a gift of John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy (died 1419), or his wife Margaret of Bavaria (died 1424) to the convent they founded at Poligny dedicated to the Franciscan Order of Poor Clares. This is one of four large sculptures from Poligny in the Museum's collection. As court sculptor in Dijon, the influential artist Claus de Werve (active 1396–ca. 1439) created many works for his patrons, and this is certainly one of his masterpieces.

    Its original position in the convent is unknown, but the sculpture was probably installed in the area reserved for the devotions of the nuns. In this tender portrayal, Mary's role as a personification of Wisdom is evoked by the open book on Christ's lap. In contrast to the warmth of the depiction of mother and son, the biblical inscription on the bench reminds us of Christ's fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy: "From the beginning, and before the world, was I created…" (Ecclesiasticus 24:14).

  • Provenance

    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)]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
467594

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