Without base: 54.6 x 17.8 cm (21 1/2 x 7 in.)
Bequest of John L. Severance 1942.784
The Virgin and Child represents one of the most frequent subjects for free-standing sculpture in 14th-century France, motivated by the developing cult of the Virgin and increasing veneration of Mary. Such sculptures were not restricted to churches, but were also found in roadside shrines, entrances to towns, and domestic use in private chapels. The small scale of this statuette suggests it was made for private veneration. The bird, held in the Virgin’s right hand, was a well-known symbol of the human soul and represents Christ’s role as redeemer of humankind.
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