Virgin and Child

Date: ca. 1425–30

Geography: Made in Nuremberg

Culture: German

Medium: Sandstone, polychromy

Dimensions: Overall: 57 1/2 x 21 1/4 x 15 in. (146 x 54 x 38.1 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Miniature-Wood

Credit Line: Gift of Ilse C. Hesslein, in memory of Hans G. Hesslein and the Hesslein family, 1986

Accession Number: 1986.340


This monumental stone sculpture is a rare and superb late example of the Beautiful Style, which, although pervasive in central Europe about 1400, appeared only briefly among the evolving sculptural styles in the free imperial city of Nuremberg. The work comes from the exterior of a private house in that town. Sculptures of this kind often were found on the corner, at the second-floor level of the building, partially protected from the elements by a projecting canopy. By their very placement, these sculptures appeared to command an entire square or the length of a street, as though providing protection for the surrounding neighborhood and any passerby, as well as offering blessings for the inhabitants of the house.