Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shrine of the Virgin

ca. 1300
Made in Rhine valley
Oak, linen covering, polychromy, gilding, gesso
open: 14 1/2 x 13 5/8 x 5 1/8 in. (36.8 x 34.6 x 13 cm)
Other (closed): 5in. (12.7cm)
Other (figure of Christ): 9 5/8 × 3 13/16 × 1 9/16 in. (24.5 × 9.7 × 3.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.185a, b
Not on view
This rare devotional shrine manifests Christian belief in the miracle of the Incarnation, by which God took on human body and nature, uniting both human and divine in the person of Jesus. Closed, it is a statuette of the enthroned Virgin Mary nursing the infant Jesus. When opened, the shrine is transformed into an altarpiece showing a sculptural representation of the Trinity. (Only the figure of God the father remains; lost are the figures of Christ and the dove representing the Holy Spirit, the second and third persons of the Trinity.) Painted scenes of the Nativity decorate the wings.
Unknown, French Collection, Lyons; Unknown, Private Collection, Aix-en-Provence; [ Marcel Bing, Paris (sold 1907)]; J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (1907–1913)
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