Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Visitation

Artist:
Attributed to Master Heinrich of Constance (German, active in Constance, ca. 1300)
Date:
ca. 1310–20
Geography:
Made in Constance
Culture:
German
Medium:
Walnut, paint, gilding, rock-crystal cabochons inset in gilt-silver mounts
Dimensions:
Overall: 23 1/4 x 11 7/8 x 7 1/4 in. (59.1 x 30.2 x 18.4 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Wood
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.724
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Soon after the Virgin Mary learned of her miraculous conception of Jesus, she visited her relative Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child, John the Baptist. This representation of their joyous meeting comes from the Dominican convent of Katharinenthal, in the Lake Constance region of present-day Switzerland. Carved of walnut, with the original paint and gilding almost completely preserved, the figures of Mary and Elizabeth are each inset with crystal-covered cavities through which images of their infants may originally have been seen. The representation of the Visitation, incorporating images of the unborn Jesus and John the Baptist, is found with some frequency in contemporary works from German-speaking lands. Mary tenderly places her hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder, while her cousin raises her arm to her breast in reference to her declaration, “Who am I, that the mother of the Lord should visit me?” (Luke 1:43).
Inscription: VNDE HOC MICHI VI VENIAT MAT(ER) - And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke I:43)
From the Dominican convent of Katharinenthal, near Diessenhofen, Switzerland; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York
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