Seated Expectant Virgin Mary (Maria gravida)

1430-1440) Anonymous (Bohemia

1430-1440) Anonymous (Bohemia - Seated Expectant Virgin Mary (Maria gravida)
The theme of the pregnant Virgin was popular in female convents, and representations of the Virgin often appeared along with free-standing sculptures of Infant Jesus. The worship of the child was closely connected with the cult of the Virgin as the Mother of God, fuelled by new religious texts about her life and the nuns’ mystical visions, a phenomenon documented especially in South-German convents. Equally popular were texts describing the childhood of Jesus Christ. The present sculpture of the seated Virgin was either part of a small altarpiece or stood freely as a special devotional object often used in the Advent period. Pointing to her protruding belly, the Virgin draws attention to her pregnancy which is further accentuated with the medallion, now poorly visible, depicting Infant Jesus carrying the cross. The sculpture’s original polychromy and decorative elements are fragmentary. The hems of the open mantle were originally gilded and decorated with delicate punches which the artist impressed into the chalk ground covered with golden sheets. The present carving is a rare example of the punched decoration technique in sculpture, as it is more common in the gilded background of panel paintings.
measurements: height 47 cm
material: lime wood
technique: fragments of original polychromy and gilding
inventory number: P 1978
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters

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