Alabaster; H. 54 1/2 in. (138.4 cm)
Purchase, Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation Inc. Gift and Charles Ulrick and Josephine Bay Foundation Inc. Gift, 1965 (65.110)
This nearly lifesize statue represents the theological virtue of love in its most familiar guise, as Charity with her children. It was long attributed to the French sculptor Germain Pilon but does not have the rigorous linearity of the French school and is more likely to be Flemish. Alabaster was greatly favored as a medium in the Low Countries, where Mannerist sculptors must surely have relished the stone's contribution to their softly rounded, mellow characterizations, whether large- or small-scale compositions. An architectural setting for the sculpture may be inferred from the flattened back.