Elephant ivory with traces of paint and gilding; H. 7 1/4 in. (18.5 cm)
Purchase, The Cloisters Collection and Michel David–Weill Gift, 1999 (1999.208)
Few representations of the Virgin and Child can match this example, regal and sensitive, produced in Paris, the principal center of ivory carving during the Gothic era. The face of the youthful Virgin emphasizes her tenderness toward the Christ Child. Here the focus of the work is on the human and loving mother rather than the Queen of Heaven. The statuette was probably set into a small architectural tabernacle, and functioned as an object for private devotion.