Madonna, with Scenes from the Life of the Virgin

Unknownc. 1270/80

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The heyday of ivory carving in Paris lasted until the early fifteenth century. This Madonna tabernacle was a votive object crafted with a particular delicacy. An architectural form that was used for the presentation of largeformat statues of saints, especially the Madonna, and was also common on altar niches, is here scaled down to miniature proportions. The wings with which the tabernacle can be closed up show scenes from the life of Mary and from the childhood of Jesus. The Madonna herself, seen frontally wearing a broad cloak, restates a type of image familiar from cathedral sculpture and from largeformat single figures since about 1300. The countenance of Mary, with the finely cut eyelids, clearly evidences an affinity with court style in the age of Saint Louis of France.

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