May 3, 2004

Female Bust

Female Bust

c. 1470-1500

Painted and gilded lindenwood

Without base: 47 cm (18 1/2 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1962.283



This female bust is part of a series of three in the museum's collection. The identity of the figures has been speculated by scholars but without resolution. Because this and the other female busts in the series do not retain their attributes, it is difficult to know their original purpose. It is possible that they may have once formed a group of female saints from the predella of a large altarpiece. Since the sculpture is not carved in the round, this hypothesis has merit. Another recent proposal is that this and the other sculptures may be from a series of female busts representing the wise and foolish virgins referenced in Matthew 25:1-13, a parable by Jesus admonishing listeners to be spiritually prepared.

See also
MED - Gothic
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 

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