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Mary, wearing a gold robe and crown, holds a seated baby Jesus

A light-skinned Virgin Mary stands on an eight-sided wooden podium wearing a long golden robe and pointed golden shoes. On her head is a gold crown topped with small crosses. She wears a beige covering over her hair, and her eyes gaze slightly toward her left. In her left arm she holds a seated light-skinned baby Jesus, who in turn holds a golden ball in his left hand. His other hand is extended to clasp the woman’s right hand. The colors of the sculpture show some wear, including blotchiness and areas where paint has rubbed off to reveal wood.

Gallery Text

In the late Middle Ages, Christian spirituality increasingly focused on the salvation of individual souls. Devotional practice was no longer confined to the liturgy, but was supplemented with private prayer. Individuals acquired their own prayer books, and the growing aristocratic and bourgeois classes commissioned small devotional works, like the portable ivory shown here. The invention of printmaking led to the proliferation of sacred images, some inspired by earlier manuscript illuminations. Other objects, like the bronze plaque here, were in turn modeled after prints.

[1946.56, 1957.217, 1962.282, BR65.10]

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Unidentified Artist
Previously attributed to circle of Peter Parler, Bohemian (Gmünd 1330 - 1399 Prague)
The Virgin and Child
Work Type
c. 1350-1360
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2440, Medieval Art, Medieval Art
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Physical Descriptions

Polychromed wood
41 x 13.7 x 11.4 cm (16 1/8 x 5 3/8 x 4 1/2 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Mrs. Jesse Isidor Straus, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1957

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mrs. Jesse Isidor Straus in memory of her husband, Jesse Isidor Straus, Class of 1893
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • "Gothic Sculpture in American Collections: The Checklist: I: The New England Museums", GESTA, ed. Dorothy W. Gillerman (1980), vol. XIX, no. 2, p.118, fig. 7, repr.
  • Anita F. Moskowitz, Gothic Sculpture in America, I: The New England Museums, ed. Dorothy W. Gillerman, Garland Publishing, Inc. (New York, 1989), no. 288 p. 383, repr.
  • Robert Suckale, "Eine Unbekannte Madonnenstatuette der Wiener Hofkunst", Österreichische Zeitschrift für Kunst und Denkmalpflege, Verlag A. Schroll & Co., g.m.b.h. (Vienna, 1995), XLIV, Heft 3, p. 147-159. repr. in b/w p. 148 as fig. 161, p. 149 as figs. 162-4
  • Ulrich Söding, Der Schmerzensmann: Bildwerke des Schönen Stils und des frühen Realismus, Sascha Mehringer (Munich, Germany, 2018), pp. 66-67, 91, repr. as fig. 47 on p.66

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2440 Medieval, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

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