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Standing Virgin and Child

Attributed to Niclaus Gerhaert von Leyden (North Netherlandish, active Strasbourg, ca. 1462–died 1473 Vienna)

Date:
ca. 1470
Geography:
Made in probably Vienna, Austria
Culture:
Austrian
Medium:
Boxwood, tinted lips and eyes
Dimensions:
Overall: 13 1/4 x 5 1/8 x 3 9/16 in. (33.6 x 13 x 9.1 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Wood
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Cloisters Collection and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996
Accession Number:
1996.14
  • Description

    Nikolaus Gerhaert von Leiden, a seminal artist of the generation preceding Albrecht Dürer's, was born in Leiden and was active in Strasbourg and Vienna as well as several cities in between. Only three signed works are known, and a mere four others, including this sculpture, have been seriously thought to be by Gerhaert's hand.

    This statuette expresses a combined sense of drama, monumentality, and elegance through the extraordinarily accomplished carving of the fine-grained wood. Among the naturalistic details that subtly enhance the total form is the delicate manner in which the Virgin's fingertips press into the chubby flesh of the child. Intended as an object of private devotion and continuing a long tradition in the use of boxwood for this purpose, it may well have been commissioned by a member of the imperial court in Vienna. The dark base with the fictive Dürer monogram and date on the back is from the nineteenth century. Both arms of the child and the section of drapery held in his left hand must date from this period as well.

  • Provenance

    Baron Anselm Salomon von Rothschild , Vienna (by 1866–1874) ; Baron Nathaniel Mayer Anselm von Rothschild , Vienna ; by descent, baron Alphonse Mayer Rothschild (confiscated 1938 and held at Altausse and Kremsmünster) ; restituted to his widow, baroness Clarice de Rothschild (1947–sold 1948) ; [ Rosenberg & Stiebel , New York] ; [ Julius Wilhelm Böhler , Munich] ; [ Julius Harry Böhler , Munich] ; [ Marion Böhler-Eitle , Munich] ; [ Florian Eitle-Böhler , Starnberg (sold 1996)]

  • See also
    Who
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    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
466287

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