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Gallery Text

This figure was found behind the altar of the church of Santa Maria de Taüll in Catalonia, Spain, in 1907; the original context and subject of the sculpture remain unknown. It may have been part of a sculptural group representing the Three Marys, pious women said to have been present at the crucifixion of Jesus. Traces of paint on the sculpture indicate that it was once brightly colored. Its large headdress is typical of 12th- century Catalonian art, particularly as seen in wall paintings found at the nearby church of Sant Climent. This region, in the northeast of Spain, was rich in religious orders that supported the visual arts. The sculpture was once owned by Alphonse Kann, a great early 20th-century French collector of medieval objects.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1925.11
People
Unidentified Artist
Title
Female Figure
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Female Saint (Mary Magdalene?)
Alternate Title: The Virgin / Statue of the Virgin from Santa Maria de Taüll, Catalonia
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
c. 1125
Places
Creation Place: Europe, Spain, Taüll
Culture
Spanish
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/288080
Location
Level 2, Room 2440, Medieval Art, Medieval Art
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Wood with traces of polychrome and gesso
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
145.1 x 35.6 x 30.2 cm (57 1/8 x 14 x 11 7/8 in.)
Provenance
Henry Daguerre, Paris. A. Kann. [Arnold Seligman, Rey & Co., Inc., New York, NY, sold;] to Edward Forbes for the Fogg Art Museum, 1925.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
1925
Object Number
1925.11
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Arthur Kingsley Porter, Spanish Romanesque Sculpture, Pegasus Press and Pantheon Books (Paris, France and Florence, Italy, 1928), vol. II, pp. 13, 14, 17, 18, pl. 67, 71A

Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, 1930), p. 473, repr.

Arthur Kingsley Porter, Fogg Museum Notes (June 1931), II, no. 6, 246-272

Fogg Art Museum Handbook, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1931), p. 24, repr.

Arthur Kingsley Porter, "La Verge de Tahull", Butletti dels Museus d'Art de Barcelona (1932), II, 120ff.

[Reproduction only], "New Books: Nocions d'arqueologia sagrada Catalana", Parnassus, (January 1932)., p. 32, repr.

[Reproduction only], "Virgin from Deposition Group of San Clemente (?) de Tahull", Parnassus, (January 1932)., p. 32, repr.

Alfred William Clapham, Romanesque Architecture in Western Europe, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1936), p. 134, repr. (top portion), plate 32a

Walter William Spencer Cook and Jose Gudiol Ricart, Pintura e Imagineria Romanicas, Editorial Plus-Ultra (Madrid, 1950), pp. 322ff

New York University Institute of Fine Arts Alumni Association, Spanish Medieval Art, exh. cat. (New York, NY, 1954), cat. no. 33

J. Ainaud, "La sculpture polychrome catalane", L'oeil (1955), no. 4, pp. 33-39

Direccion General de Relaciones Culturales, L'art roman, exh. cat. (Barcelona, 1961), p. 183

Edward Waldo Forbes, Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 4

Linda Seidel, "Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections: X: The Fogg Art Museum: III: Spain, Italy, the Low Countries, and Addenda", GESTA (1973), vol. XII, no. 1/2, p. 133, fig. 1

Robert P. Bergman, "Varieties of Romanesque Sculpture", Apollo (May 1978), 107, p. 18, 21-22; repr. as fig. 6

Walter Cahn and Linda Seidel, Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections, volume 1: New England Museums, Burt Franklin & Co., Inc. (New York, NY, 1979), pp. 196-199; fig. 210, cat. no. 51

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 141, p. 124, repr.

The Art of Medieval Spain a.d. 500-1200, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1993), p. 318; cat. no. 165

James Cuno, Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Ivan Gaskell, and William W. Robinson, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, ed. James Cuno, Harvard University Art Museums and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), p. 163, repr.

Elizabeth Bradford Smith, Medieval Art in America: Patterns of Collecting 1800-1940, exh. cat., Palmer Museum of Art (University Park, PA, 1996), p. 178

Joseph Goering, "The Virgin and the Grail: A Forgotten Twelfth-Century Cult", Saints and the Sacred: Proceedings of a St. Michael's College Symposium 25-26 February 2000, ed. Joseph Goering, Francesco Guardiani, and Giulio Silano, Legas (New York and Ottawa, 2001), pp. 163-184; p. 181 as fig. 4, repr., p. 182 as fig. 5 (detail)

Xavier Dectot, "Vierge ou Sainte Femme? La place d'une exceptionnelle acquisition du musee national du Moyen Age dans la scupture catalane du XIIe siecle", La revue du Louvre et des Musees de France (2003), no. 3, pp. 44, 48-49; p. 46, figs. 3 and 4

Kathryn Brush, "Arthur Kingsley Porter, le Fogg Art Museum et la sculpture romane espagnole", Catalogne Romane: Sculptures du Val de Boí, Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2004), pp. 42 - 53, p. 43-53. p. 48, repr. in fig. 24 with others from Taüll group

Christian Brosio, "Les Ateliers Romans du Val de Boí", Le Spectacle du Monde (September 2004), repr.

Jordi Camps i Soria and Xavier Dectot, Catalogne Romane: Sculptures du Val de Boí, exh. cat., Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2004), p. 88-89, repr. as cat. no. 4

Amanda Mars, "Los Misterios del Románico en 15 Tallas", La Gaceta de Los Negocios (January 2005), detail repr.

Joseph Goering, The Virgin and the Grail, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT, and London, 2005), pp. 107-111, repr. as fig. 6 and fig. 7 (detail)

Exhibition History

Spanish Medieval Art, The Cloisters, New York, 12/15/1954 - 01/30/1955

12th Century Catalan sculpture. The Valley of Boi Workshop, Musée National du Moyen Age, Paris, 09/14/2004 - 01/03/2005

32Q: 2440 Medieval, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/12/2017 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu