France, Paris, Notre–Dame Cathedral (?)
Limestone; H. 9 5/8 in. (24.5 cm)
Purchase, Michel David–Weil Gift, 1990 (1990.132)
Beauty and tenderness mark the irresistible appeal of this angelic head, which possesses both a precociousness and a playfulness rarely seen in High Gothic sculpture. The deeply undercut elastic and cascading locks of hair; the suggestive, tight-lipped smile; and the refinement of the surface help place the work at the forefront of Parisian Gothic sculpture, about the middle of the thirteenth century. The style of the sculpture and the type of limestone used suggest that this head comes from Notre-Dame of Paris, probably from its choir screen.