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Gothic enthroned Virgin with Child

Gotische Madonna mit Kind Salzburg um 1430


probably Salzburg, around 1430
carved, painted and gilt lime wood
ca. 23½ in

The enthroned Madonna type has been one of the most popular depictions of the Virgin and Child since Byzantine times.

This Gothic enthroned Virgin and Child was probably created in Salzburg around 1430. Mary is depicted as the crowned Queen of Heaven on a throne with a cushion. The infant Jesus sits on her lap and holds a globe that identifies him as the Salvator Mundi, the Redeemer of the world. The Mother of God herself is adorned with the attribute of grapes – they are a reference to the Last Supper and represent the changed wine.

Carved from lime wood, the sculpture is rendered almost full round and hollowed out on the back in accordance with medieval practice. Mary’s precious, detailed clothing is painted in polychrome and gilded with gold leaf. The tight-fitting dress is held in place by a narrow belt. The wide golden cloak with blue lining is laid in elaborately carved folds in a soft style. The tips of the narrow courtly shoes peek out from under the finely draped hem.

Both the special soft folds tapering towards the bend and the braided, wavy veil with the Virgin’s curls disappearing into it are typical of Madonnas from around 1430, especially those in the Salzburg region. The folds of the hem, the oval, lovely face and the child’s posture suggest knowledge of works by the Master of Seeon (active around 1420/30, workshop in Mühldorf am Inn – at that time part of the Archbishopric of Salzburg), in particular the Madonna from Taufkirchen (Master of Seeon, around 1430, municipal museum Mühldorf).

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