Description The standing figure of the Virgin is very thin, almost pointed at the sides. Her drapery is fully developed on the back, displaying a complex series of folds at the haunch and at the bottom of the skirt. The head veil is carefully carved in overlapping folds. There is a rectangular hole in the center of the back for attachment to a shrine. The carver of this ivory was working outside the conventional formulas of French sculpture with the wide, unusual sweep of apron-style drapery across the figure of the Virgin and the free-floating pendant of drapery hanging from her right sleeve, which breaks the outline of the figure. The hands and wrists are unusually delicate, and the Virgin stares vacantly into space. These features relate the ivory to a group of marble sculptures showing unusual treatment of the drapery from 1340 to about 1370. Unlike the eyes of the marble figures, which were probably painted, the pupils of the eyes of the ivory are drilled. The Virgin's crown and the Child's head are missing. The Virgin's skirt has a large chip in the center from the iron spike of the later copper-gilt base, several minor chips, and a truncated toe of each foot. Considerable traces of red paint may be seen on the rear of the Virgin's robe. The Child's left hand, which holds an apple, is an old replacement in wood with traces of polychrome.
Provenance Brizard Collection [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Jacques Seligmann, Paris [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1914, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1914
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