Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Virgin and Child

ca. 1270–1300
Made in Limoges, France
Copper: repoussé, engraved, gilt, cut out and nailed; champlevé enamel: lapis and light blue, red; gems; wood core (walnut)
Overall: 17 1/16 x 8 x 6 in. (43.4 x 20.3 x 15.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Through the course of the thirteenth century, goldsmiths in Limoges increasingly specialized in the creation of gilded copper sculpture—freestanding, as here, or in relief, with enamel used only as a decorative accent. As Queen of Heaven, the Virgin Mary wears a crown (as does the infant Jesus), richly decorated shoes, a cloak engraved with a fur pattern, and a delicate filigree brooch. The inscription across the front of the statuette reads, in translation, “Hail Mary, full of grace.” This is more than a devotional image: with a hinged compartment set in the back of the throne, this Virgin and Child served as a tabernacle to safeguard the host, the wafer
of bread consecrated during the mass as the body of Christ. An enameled image of Saint Peter, holding keys, stands guard at the door.
Inscription: Inscription: (on the inside part of the plinth; red enameled letters between blue lines) AVE MARIA GRACIA PLENA (Hail Mary, full of grace).
Count Jacques-Victor of La Béraudière(sale, Paris, May 18-30, 1885, no. 395); Baron Albert Oppenheim, Cologne(sold 1906); J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (1906–1917)
Paris. Musée du Louvre. "L'Oeuvre de Limoges," October 23, 1995–January 22, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350," January 22, 1996–June 16, 1996.

Catalogue des tableaux anciens, dessins, gravures, objets d'art [...] medailles, livres, riche mobilier du XVIIIe siecle, composant les collections de feu M. le Comte de la Béraudière. Paris: Hôtel Drouot, May 18–30, 1885. no. 395, p. 88, ill.

Reusens, Edmond Henri Joseph, ed. Exposition Rétrospective d'Art Industriel, Bruxelles 1888: Catalogue Officiel. Brussels: P. Weissenbruch, 1888. no. 76, pp. 56–57.

Catalogue officiel illustré de l'exposition retrospective de l'art français des origines à 1800. Exposition universelle de 1900. Paris: Lemercier & Cie., 1900. no. 2520, p. 294.

Kunsthistorische Ausstellung, Düsseldorf 1902: Illustrirter Katalog. Düsseldorf: August-Bagel-Verlag, 1902. no. 1221, p. 107.

Molinier, Émile. Collection du Baron Albert Oppenheim: Tableaux et objets d'art, catalogue précédé d'une introduction. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1904. no. 133, p. 57, pl. XLVIII.

"The Oppenheim Collection at South Kensington Museum." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 9, no. 40 (July 1906). p. 228, pl. II-3.

Forsyth, William H. Medieval Sculptures of the Virgin and Child: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1939. 4.

Hildburgh, Walter L. Dr. "Medieval Copper Champlevé Enamelled Images of the Virgin and Child." Archaeologia 96 (1955). pp. 116-58.

Gauthier, Marie-Madeleine. "Les 'Majestés de la Vierge,' limousines et méridionales au 13e siècle au Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York." Bulletin de la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France (1968). pp. 68-72, 84-86.

Taburet-Delahaye, Elisabeth, and Barbara Drake Boehm, ed. L'Oeuvre de Limoges: Emaux limousins du Moyen Age. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1995. no. 156, p. 426-427.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, ed. Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996. no. 155, pp. 426–27.

Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Le goût des Américains pour l'Œuvre de Limoges aux XIXe et XXe siècles." In L’Œuvre de Limoges et sa diffusion: Trésors, objets, collections, edited by Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, and Frédéric Tixier. Paris: Institut national d'histoire de l'art, 2011. pp. 126–27.

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