Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Miracle of the Palm Tree on the Flight to Egypt

ca. 1490–1510
Made in Spain
Walnut, gesso, paint, and gilding
49 3/4 × 36 1/2 × 10 1/2 in., 110 lb. (126.4 × 92.7 × 26.7 cm, 49.9 kg)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1938
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 305
This sculpture, probably from a retable (decoration behind an altar) depicting Jesus commanding the palm tree to bend down so that the Holy Family could eat its fruit, is based upon New Testament Apocrypha, episodes from the life of Jesus not recounted in the Gospels. The composition is derived from an engraving by Martin Schongauer, dated about 1476.
Inscription: On the cloak of the Virgin: Monogram S M surmounted by a crown [monogram of the Santamaría family, Burgos, Castile]
Said to come from the Cathedral of Calahorra in La Rioja, Spain ; William Randolph Hearst (American), New York and San Simeon (ca. 1919-1938)
Alexander, Christine, and Josephine Lansing Allen. "Notes." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 34, no. 11 (November 1939). p. 266.

Forsyth, William H. "A Spanish Medieval Relief: The Miracle of the Palm Tree." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 34, no. 8 (August 1939). pp. 197-200, fig. 2.

Forsyth, William H. Medieval Sculptures of the Virgin and Child: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1939. fig. 20.

Luce, Stephen Bleecker. "Archaeological News and Discussions." American Journal of Archaeology: The Journal of the Archaeological Institute of America 46, no. 2 (April-June 1942). p. 271.

Ten Broeck, Lynn. "Medieval Sculptures." The Compleat Collector 3, no. 2 (December 1942). pp. 18–19, ill. cover.

de Lecuona, Manuel. "Esculturas calahorranas en Nueva York." Berceo 9 (1948). pp. 587-591.

Leeuwenberg, Jaap. "De vluchte naar Egypte." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 4, no. 1 (1956). p. 21, fig. 8.

Frinta, Mojmír. "The Use of Wax for Appliqué Relief Brocade on Wooden Statuary." Studies in Conservation 8, no. 4 (1963). p. 141, 143, fig. 6, 7.

Fisher, Sally. The Square Halo and Other Mysteries of Western Art: Images and the Stories that Inspire Them. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995. p. 62.

San Felipe Adán, María Antonia. "'El milagro de la palmera' o Calahorra y Ciudadano Kane." Kalakorikos 12 (2007). pp. 177-96, fig. 6.

Wixom, William D. "Late Medieval Sculpture in the Metropolitan: 1400 to 1530." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 64, no. 4 (Spring 2007). p. 38.

Geelen, Ingrid, and Delphine Steyaert. Imitation and Illusion: Applied Brocade in the Art of the Low Countries in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Scientia Artis 6. Brussels: Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium, 2011. p. 475.

Levkoff, Mary. "Hearst and Spain." In Collecting Spanish Art: Spain's Golden Age and America's Gilded Age. New York: The Frick Collection, 2012. pp. 178-79, fig. 4.

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