(Spanish, active c. 1475–1505)
Alabaster with traces of gilding and polychromy
Overall: 31.5 x 22.5 x 16 cm (12 3/8 x 8 7/8 x 6 5/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2008.145
This sculpture was possibly made for Queen Isabella, the Spanish ruler who sponsored Christopher Columbus.
The seated Virgin Mary with Christ is one of the most popular themes in Christian art of the Middle Ages. Alabaster was an ideal material to depict the fleshiness of Jesus, the lush folds of Mary’s cloak, and the fine details of the throne and gown. Christ is reaching for something in his mother’s hand that is now unrecognizable because alabaster tends to break or wear away quickly. It may have been a book or a piece of fruit. Given its small size, it is likely that this sculpture was intended for private use.
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