Exhibitions/ Art Object

Virgin and Child Enthroned (so-called Golden Madonna)

Date:
before 1022
Culture:
German (Hildesheim)
Medium:
Gold on linden wood core, filigree, and precious and semiprecious stones
Dimensions:
Overall: 22 5/16 x 10 1/16 x 9 15/16 in. (56.6 x 25.5 x 25.2 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold
Credit Line:
Dom-Museum Hildesheim (DS 82)
Not on view
One of the oldest three-dimensional sculptures in the medieval Latin West, this shimmering statue is an important early medieval Maestà, or Virgin enthroned with the Christ Child. It was likely commissioned by Bishop Bernward. Cult figures such as this contributed to the veneration of the Virgin. Touched in adoration during liturgical processions, it was also, according to a 1438 cathedral inventory, adorned with more than one hundred brooches, rings, and chains left as votive offerings.
Cathedral Treasury, Hildesheim (before 1022, ca. 1220–30); Dom-Museum Hildesheim Documentation: Victor Heinrich Elbern, Der Hildesheimer Domschatz (Hildesheim: Lax, 1969), no. 82; Kirchenkunst des Mittelalters: Erhalten und erfoschen. Katalog zur Ausstellung des Diözesan-Museums Hildesheim (Hildesheim: Bernward Verlag,1991), pp. 37-84.