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                         Back to Sculpture of the XIV th c. and Late Gothic
XIV th c. Figure of the Child Christ



The upper part of a Child Christ. Most probably from a Virgin and Child group comes this high quality figure. The Christ is playing with a dove, considered a symbolic representation of the Passion.

The Child has too large hands and ears, a feature typical of the XIV th century, when the carving - and also the drawing of children was not yet the subject of realistic conventions.

Both drapery and hairs are treated as surface ornaments with low relief, as opposed to a deeper, plastic treatment. It is close to ivory and marble art of the second quarter of the XIV th c. A small detail, the little pinch of the Christ's dress under the neck, can be seen on a very limited number of high quality ivories, for instance the Dyptic of the Musée des Beaux Arts in Lille. In stone, this particular feature is scarce, for instance in statues of the Master of Rieux in Toulouse - also dating to the second quarter of the XIV th c.

The figure of the Virgin and Child has roots in the Paleochistian times, the syriac iconography and the "time of the Catacombs". It became widely popular in the end of the XIII c., the "marial century", but reached its climax in the XIV th c. when thousands of Virgin and Child groups were carved, for prestigious, court monuments as well as local churches. Mrs Lefrançois-Pillon, a French scholar who studied these figures, estimated to a few thousands the number created
in the XIV th c. Most are standing, but some are seated. Our Child comes from a standing group, as demonstrated by the drapery on the back. Only a small part of these statues benefited from the high, gentle quality displayed in our little figure.

The dove is pecking the Child's hand, a typical feature, where the bird usually interacts with the Child, a sign of the realistic, humanistic approach of the medieval carvers, and a beautiful attempt to make the figures of Our Lord and the Virgin Mary closer to the faithful.

The head of the Child is carved in the round, with "smiling eyes" as half-almonds. The hairs show interlaced little curls carved as surface ornament, like a goldmsith's work, also weathering has reduced the relief.

Visible lacks. Lower part missing. The head of the dove reattached. Nose and lips of the Child, as well as His right ear partly broken. Some weathering.

                                                                                                                                                                                Material : Limestone
                                                                                                                                                                                Origin : Ile de France, France
                                                                                                                                                                                Provenance : French auction sale
                                                                                                                                                                                Period : second quarter of the XIV th c.
                                                                                                                                                                                Dimensions : H. : 21,5 cm (without stand)

        Ref. : md-102  

   Price & Conditions : 9000 euros -




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