View 1 of Lot 124. French, Ile de France or Lorraine, second half 14th century | Virgin and Child.
View 1 of Lot 124. French, Ile de France or Lorraine, second half 14th century | Virgin and Child.
124

French, Ile de France or Lorraine, second half 14th century | Virgin and Child

Estimate:

40,000 - 60,000 GBP

French, Ile de France or Lorraine, second half 14th century | Virgin and Child

French, Ile de France or Lorraine, second half 14th century | Virgin and Child

Estimate:

40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot sold:

138,600

GBP

French, Ile de France or Lorraine, second half 14th century

Virgin and Child


marble 

93cm., 36 1/2 in. 

No subject matter encapsulates the magnificence of Gothic sculpture as perfectly as the standing Madonna and Child. The rise of the great French cathedrals in the 13th and 14th centuries provided the context for large representations of this image on the portals and interiors. From small ivory carvings, with their characteristic curving form derived from the natural shape of the tusk, to monumental limestone architectural groups, the cult of the Virgin came to dominate religious devotion during this period. Whilst limestone statues proliferated, and most were originally painted, marble examples are rarer and denote a more prestigious commission.


One such exceptional commission, about which both the name of the sculptor and patron are known, provides an apposite comparison with the present Madonna and Child. This is the marble group in the parish church in Gosnay (Pas-de-Calais) which is documented as the work of Jean Pépin de Huy (Rhein und Maas, cat. 06). The work (measuring 64cm. in height) was commissioned by the Countess Mahaut d’Artois and installed in Mont-Sainte-Marie at Gosnay in 1329. Here, as in our larger marble group, the Virgin stands with her weight on her left leg and her right leg forward, animating the drapery. The Christ Child is held in her left hand whilst she holds a lily in her right hand (lost in both marbles). The Virgin is crowned, her veil framing her wavy hair. In the Jean Pépin de Huy marble the Christ Child holds an apple whereas in the present group he holds a bird.


Dated by the commission to the end of the second decade of the 14th century, the relative simplicity of the drapery folds of the in the Pépin marble contrast with the more voluminous folds of the present marble, notably on the Virgin’s left side which suggests a date later in the 14th century. To confirm such a dating, further comparisons can be made with the large stone Madonna and Child in the church as Lesches (Seine-et-Marne) that is inscribed with the date 1370 (Les Fastes du Gothique, cat. 69). In both works the cascade of rippling folds introduces a flamboyant decorative element. A further comparison - in this case also made of marble – is the smaller (63cm.) Madonna and Child dated around 1364 and attributed to Jean de Liège, now in the Calouste Gulenkian (Les Fastes du Gothique, cat. 66). Here a more a playful Christ Child is held in the Virgin’s right arm. The baggy fold around the Virgin’s middle has affinities with the present group which suggest a dating for the present marble around the 1360s.


RELATE LITERATURE

Rhein und Maas. Kunst und Kultur 800-1400, exh. cat., Schnütgen Museum, Cologne, 1972, pp. 371-388; Les Fastes du Gothique. Le siècle de Charles V, exh. cat, Grand Palais, Paris, 1981, pp. 114-166