This very beautiful oak statuary group dating from the 16th century represents Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. This Christian iconographic theme, bringing together the three generations, the grandmother, the mother and the Child Jesus, was very popular in the West.
Saint Anne and Mary are shown seated on a throne, with the child Jesus standing between them. Both are dressed in a long dress falling in large broken folds at the front.
Saint Anne, wearing a veil and wimple, presents a gentle face which is quite rare because most often the emphasis is placed on the age of the Saint who presents a face marked by time.
This expression of gentleness is reinforced by the kind look she has on the Child.
Marie also has a very pretty face surrounded by long hair with soft, wavy locks.
The child Jesus is represented naked, all chubby seeming to want to escape from the arms of Saint Anne to grab the apple that Mary presents with the tips of her slender fingers.
The sculptor invites us here to a gentle, intimate moment between a grandmother, a mother and her child.
Dimensions: H. 47 cm x L. 34 cm x D. 16 cm
North of France
16th century period
Damages in the child's hands and feet
Symbolism of the apple
In Christian Tradition, the apple is the forbidden fruit of the earthly paradise, which Eve, tempted by the devil, picks and gives to Adam to eat: the apple has thus become the symbol of the fall of man. In fact the Scriptures do not specify to which species the forbidden fruit belongs: as the Latin word malum designates evil as well as the apple, it has been assumed that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was an apple tree.
Unlike Eve who eats the apple, a forbidden fruit, the Virgin presents this fruit to the Word of God, who became incarnate to repair the fall of Adam. Several statues represent the Virgin Mary or the Child Jesus holding an apple. This is no longer a symbol of the original fall but of Redemption. Just as Eve had presented the forbidden fruit to Adam, dragging him into his fall as well as all humanity, Mary, new Eve, presents to her Son, the New Adam, the fruit of the Tree of Life, instrument of our redemption.
Text ref: Saint Joseph de Clairval Abbey
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