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Upper Rhine

Virgin and Child of Niedermorschwihr, around 1500

Originating in the village of Niedermorschwihr near Colmar, this very beautiful limewood Virgin and Child is tied to the flourishing cult of the Virgin Mary in the late Middle Ages. The iconography of the Virgin cradling the Child in her arms is emphasised since, as it insists upon the bond between Jesus and His mother, it also makes Mary the most effective intercessor. Here, the Virgin is portrayed standing on a crescent moon, in reference to the texts of the Apocalpyse assimilating the Immaculate Conception to a woman descending from Heaven “as the morning rising, fair as the moon under her feet”.

Although we lack information on the identity of the sculptor, the shape of the body masked by the generous folds of the cloak, the long, wavy hair, and the gentleness of the perfectly oval face lead us to attribute this sculpture to the Strasbourg workshops of the 1480s. 

Upper Rhine
 

Upper Rhine, Virgin and Child of Niedermorschwihr, around 1500. Polychrome limewood, Musée Unterlinden, Colmar.

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