The present lot shows the Virgin holding the Christ child on Her arm in a seated position, Her hands clasped together at the front. The gesture allows the child to sit comfortably on her arm, perhaps more so than is usually the case in these compositions. The Virgin's large, round face and small mouth compare to similar Virgins in the Bayerischen Nationalmuseum in Munich (op. cit.
nos. 233, 273).
The Christ child holds a bird grasped in His fist; a motif often explained as allegorical for the holy ghost. However, with the rise in interest in Christ's humanity towards the later Middle Ages, and the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the bird may well refer to a legend from that gospel. The boy Jesus is said to have sculpted birds out of clay, and blew life into them. In medieval theology, this story was often interpreted as an allegory of Christ's Resurrection.
T. Müller, Die Bildwerke in Holz, Ton und Stein von der Mitte des XV. bis gegen Mitte des XVI. Jahrhunderts, cat. Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, 1959, nos. 233, 273