Painted cast stone
Overall: 94 x 92.7 x 39.4 cm (37 x 36 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1971.67
The word vesperbild is the German word for pietà, the image of the Virgin Mary cradling her dead son on her lap. The theme has no literary source; it originated in Germany during the early 1300s and was more widespread in central Europe than in Italy. These devotional sculptures were used within the interior of a church, in small side chapels dedicated to the Virgin. As in this example, they often convey her grief in a sensitive way. For those who prayed before them, vesperbilds were poignant reminders of the Passion of Christ and the suffering of the Virgin.
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