Virgen con niño gótica

Gothic Virgin and Child

Department of Medieval Antiquities

Material: Wood. Paint
Technique: Carving. Polychroming
Dimensions: Depth = 30.5 cm; Width = 49.5 cm; Height = 112 cm
Cultural context: Gothic (Art of the Middle Ages)
Dated: 1270-1300 (last third of the 13th century)

 

Polychromed wood carving depicting the Virgin enthroned, with the Christ child seated on her left leg, following the iconography of the “Sedes Sapientiae” or “Seat of Wisdom”. Although the piece has been conserved intact, the figure of the Virgin is missing its crown, which would originally also have been polychromed wood (as seen in other pieces in the same group), and was probably removed at a later date and replaced with a metal one.

Marian imagery was widespread from the 12th century, and over the second half of the 13th century this type of depiction underwent a series of changes originating with monumental stone sculpture, especially the innovations of the Master of the Sarmental Door in Burgos Cathedral. This model, transposed to wood carving, was adopted and disseminated in north-east Burgos, La Rioja, Alava, and especially Navarre. By the end of the 13th century its own characteristic typology and decoration was established in the area, constituting "Group A" in the "Basque-Navarre-RiojanoType" (Fernández-Ladreda, Imaginería medieval mariana en Navarra, Pamplona, 1989). The wood carvings made in the southern part of Navarre are considered the most perfect examples of this group of pieces.

Some of the most notable parallels to this carving include one in The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (no. 53.67), dated c. 1280-1300, and another in the de Young Museum, San Francisco; there are also similar figures conserved in Navarre, for example, in the churches of Santa María, Los Arcos (c. 1270); La Asunción, Miranda de Arga (c. 1263); Santa María, Fitero (c. 1285); San Andrés, Arizaleta; and Santa María, Berbinzana (c. 1270 - 1300) (Fernández-Ladreda, Imaginería medieval mariana en Navarra, Pamplona, 1989).