Enthroned Virgin and Child


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14

Long hidden in private collections, this ivory sculpture is one of the great masterpieces on view at The Cloisters. It belongs to a larger series of European thirteenth- and fourteenth-century, generally small-scale, precious ivory statuettes of the Virgin and Child in seated and standing postures. Most of the series is French, and certainly from the Île-de-France if not from the preeminent center, Paris. All of these statuettes—the rare English examples and the numerous French works—are devotional in nature and date from the height of popularity of the cult of the Virgin.

The Cloisters' Virgin turns slightly to her left to face the blessing Christ Child, who at one time climbed up over her left knee. Only a portion of the toes of the infant Christ's right foot and of his lowered left leg and foot remains. The Virgin's back is carved in low-relief folds, suggesting that this sculpture was not meant to be seen in the round.

#51. Enthroned Virgin and Child

Enthroned Virgin and Child, Elephant ivory, British

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.