Shrine of the Virgin

Date: ca. 1300

Geography: Made in Rhine valley

Culture: German

Medium: Oak, linen covering, polychromy, gilding, gesso

Dimensions: 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)

Classification: Sculpture-Wood

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.185a, b


This rare devotional shrine is designed to make manifest the miracle of the Incarnation, by which God became man. Closed, it is a statuette of the enthroned Virgin Mary nursing the Christ Child. When opened, the shrine shows a sculptural representation of the Trinity (the figure of Christ and the dove of the Holy Spirit are lost), mystically revealing that salvation is achieved through Christ incarnate. On the wings are painted scenes of the Nativity.