Property from a Distinguished Belgian Private Collection
MOSAN, MID-14TH CENTURY
VIRGIN AND CHILD ENTHRONED
gilt and polychromed walnut, with a later wood crown
95cm., 37⅜in. excluding crown
100cm., 39⅜in. overall
Overall the condition of the wood is good, with dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There are large remnants of old polychromy, in particular to the torso, sternum, and to the drapery around the legs. The paint at the faces may possibly have been refreshed in history. The Virgin's crown is lost. The Child's hands and forearms are lost. The Virgin's proper right hand is probably replaced and there is a hole to the index finger. The cross from the top of the orb is lost. There are various losses around the lower part of the sculpture at the edges. There are a few probably original separately carved sections, including at the proper right arm of the Virgin, the Child's proper left arm (with two pegs), and the back of Christ's head at the top. There is stable splitting to the Virgin, consistent with the material, including two large splits at the back. There are some stable splits and areas of fill to the back of the Virgin's neck, and there is another stable open split to the throne on the proper right side. There is evidence of non-active worming throughout, though particularly at the backs of both figures.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Private collection, Belgium
This beautiful group of the Virgin and Child is a rare survival of wood sculpture from the Meuse valley. Though it can be dated well into the middle of the 14th century, it conforms somewhat archaically to the 'Sedes Sapientiae' type, which originated in the 12th century. In both style and composition it relates to similar groups from the neighbouring Lower Rhine area, at whose centre is a walnut Virgin and Child in Cologne (Bergmann, op. cit., no. 62). The Virgin's hair and features, as well as the Child's round cheeks, however, find more convincing parallels in sculpture surrounding the Master of the Mosan Marble Madonnas, who was active in Liège (see Legner, op. cit.).
A. Legner (ed.), Rhein und Maas: Kunst und Kultur 800-1400, exh. cat. Cologne and Brussels, Cologne, 1972, vol. 1, pp. 377-381 nos. O5 and O9; U. Bergmann (ed.), Die Holzskulpturen des Mittelalters (1000-1400), cat. Schnütgen Museum, Cologne, 1989, p. 43, figs. 42 and 43 and pp. 263-264, no. 62