Virgin and Child Enthroned

c. 1310
Southern Germany, Constance
walnut
96 × 65 × 45 cm

This extremely important and finely carved sculpture of the Virgin and Child was created as an Andachtsbilder – a monumental devotional image that was ‘psychologically charged’ to communicate an emotional state and transport the soul to God. Images of the Virgin and Christ changed rapidly in this period, prioritising an emphasis on the intimate relationship between the mother and child over the more traditional Sedes Sapientia image. This trend was encouraged by the ever growing numbers of women devoting themselves to religious life as members of formal monastic orders in Southern Germany, which quickly became a major centre of mysticism. Many of these women were highly educated and came from the upper classes, often contributing to the instructive mystical texts and to the rapid evolution of devotional images. 

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Sam Fogg
Art of the Middle Ages