The group is a rare survival of late Gothic small-scale sculpture from the Austrian state of Carinthia (Kärnten). First shown in an exhibition of medieval Austrian sculpture in 1933, the statuette was described there as 'among the best and most intimate works of a representative Carinthian carver of around 1510' (Kieslinger, op. cit.). Later scholarship has established an origin in the Villach-based workshop of the master whose figures adorn the Altar now in the Deutschordenskirche in Friesach. In fact, the present group appears to be a clever adaptation of the Virgin and Child at the centre of the Friesach Altar. While it retains the large statue's grandeur, the statuette adds interest through the addition of the Sun and Angel, and its sense of levitation. Its survival and extraordinary state of preservation testify to the precious status it must have enjoyed across the centuries.
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