Enthroned Virgin and Child

Date: ca. 1130–1140

Geography: Made in vicinity of Autun, Burgundy, France

Culture: French

Medium: Birch with paint and glass

Dimensions: 40 1/2 in. × 13 in. × 11 1/4 in. (102.9 cm, 28.5 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Wood

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1947

Accession Number: 47.101.15


The simple patterning of the drapery lends elegance to this figure of the Virgin, while her slightly slumped shoulders, forward tilt, and placid gaze might suggest both fatigue and acceptance of her new role as the mother of Jesus. Traces of the medieval painted decoration are preserved. The Virgin’s proper right eye, made of blue glass, is original. The other eye is a recent replacement.
This is one of only a few Romanesque sculptures in wood from Burgundy to survive. The patterning of the drapery and the heavy-lidded eyes relate this piece to the sculptures of the cathedral of Saint-Lazare at Autun, such as the Angel (47.101.16) exhibited in this gallery.