Saint Margaret, ca. 1475
Southern France (Toulouse?)
Alabaster with traces of gilding; H. 15 3/8 in. (39.1 cm)
Gift of Anthony and Lois Blumka, in memory of Ruth and Victoria Blumka, 2000 (2000.641)
According to her legend, Saint Margaret experienced many painful ordeals before her decapitation at Antioch during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284–305). The devil, in the guise of a dragon, swallowed her, but here she is shown emerging unharmed from its body after making the sign of the cross. Saint Margaret gained widespread popularity by the later Middle Ages as the patron saint of pregnant women. Carved of alabaster, this delicate figure is an outstanding example of the naturalistic Languedoc style of the fifteenth century, centered in Toulouse, and having many stylistic links to Burgundy and the Bourbonnais.