Mary holding the Christ Child

Glencairn Museum

Glencairn Museum
Bryn Athyn, United States

This 15th-century limestone sculpture in Glencairn’s Great Hall features Mary, who is slightly less than life-size, standing and holding the Christ Child. She wears a crown and veil, and a mantle over her gown, which is girdled at the waist. This statue explores the earthly aspects of the relationship between the Christ Child and His mother. Mary looks tenderly toward the infant Child, who returns her gaze. In classic Gothic style, these figures engage each other through their eyes and gestures. With His right hand, Jesus touches her breast, and clasps her neck with His left hand. Sculptures of Mary standing with the Child in her arms was a major development in imagery that occurred in the 13th century. It evolved from both theological and artistic innovations, and is a major contrast with the earlier, more rigid Romanesque style.

- Michele McElderry, notes in curatorial file for 09.SP.114.


  • Title: Mary holding the Christ Child
  • Location Created: France
  • Physical Dimensions: 11 x 48 x 15 in. (27.9 x 121.9 x 38.1 cm)
  • Medium: Polychromed limestone
  • Date: 15th century
  • Collection: Medieval
  • Accession Number: 09.SP.114

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