Alsace, Strasbourg (modern France)
Sandstone with original paint and gilding
H. 58 1/2 in. (148.6 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1947 (47.101.11)
Among the great examples of Gothic sculpture, this regal image of the Virgin once stood on the monumental choir screen of Strasbourg Cathedral. Its place of honor near the center was marked by a canopy with angels holding a crown over the Virgin's head. The now-missing infant Jesus stood next to Mary on a rosebush, which may allude to the Virgin as a "rose without thorns," or, because of its red color, to the blood of Christ poured out at his Crucifixion. In 1680, the screen was removed as a result of changes in church ritual.