This Virgin and Child presents a gracious and somewhat mannerist attitude emphasized by a rich polychromy.
The Virgin is draped in a thick cloak held by a brooch and displaying the red dress she is wearing beneath. Her position is marked by a strong contrapposto resulting in heavy falls of cloth covering elegantly the mother of God. The wide pleats go from her right shoulder to her left foot and discover her right knee with a strong pli à bec. The right arm holds back a part of the cloak provoking some fine plis tubulaires.
The head of the Virgin is covered by a veil going down on her shoulders and on her back and topped with a crown. The face is framed by strands of hair escaping from the veil.
On her left side the Virgin carries the naked infant Jesus. While her right hand soflty holds the hips of the baby the left hand’s fingers press the soft skin of her son. With his chubby hand Jesus holds His mother’s cloak highlighting the vivid life expressed by sculpture. His playfull attitude and his smiling face and the caring gaze of His mother brings a true softness to the group.
This a tender moment of intimacy between a mother and her son that the sculptor has given us.
This Virgin and Child evokes an ensemble of Virgins statues from Bohemia of which the most famous is the Krumlov Madonna (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), from an anonymous sculptor. Those madonnas characteristically combines realism and tenderness. Appearing in the late 14th century in Prague and Salzburg the style spreads to the whole central Europe. With a strong lyrism the Virgin always carries the naked or semi naked Infant Jesus on her left leg emerging in swirl of folds and pleats. In each of those Salzburg’s Madonnas the sculptor took a great care to the interaction between the Virgin and her son.
Numerous exemples demonstrates the major effect those Madonnas have had between the late 14th century and early 15th century :
Virgin and Child recalling the Krumlov Virgin and Child, early 15th, Prague, National Gallery
Wroclaw Virgin and Child (Breslau), ca. 1400, Warsow, Naradowe Museum
Virgin and Child, Plzen, Saint Barthelemy Church
Our Virgin and Child is a perfect depiction of those late 14th and early 15 th century Virgins and was probably commissioned during the 19th century.