Plaque with the Virgin Mary as a Personification of the Church


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304

This splendid carving is one of the largest single ivory panels to survive from Carolingian Europe. The spindles in Mary’s left hand often appear in depictions of the Annunciation, as she receives the news that she is to be the mother of Jesus. The military appearance of her dress and the cross-topped scepter she holds suggest that she could also be understood here to represent the triumph of the Church. The curious juxtaposition of the figure of Mary as the recipient of the Annunciation and as the symbol of the Church is unique to this ivory plaque. Recent cleaning of the ivory has revealed the exceptional beauty of the rhythmic drapery.

#2955. Plaque with the Virgin Mary as a Personifixation of the Church

Plaque with the Virgin Mary as a Personification of the Church, Elephant ivory, Carolingian

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