This incredible left sheet of an ivory diptych was made around 1340 in Paris, France.
The decoration in bas-relief represents the Virgin with Child surrounded by two cerebral angels, also called torchbearers, a reference to the altar servers of the Catholic liturgy who carried a candlestick or simple candle lighted in the direction of the faithful.
The Virgin is wearing a veil holding her crown. In a maternal attitude, she supports the Child Jesus with her left arm and holds a flower in her right hand, symbol of her virginity.
In a slightly cambered movement, she wears a long ample dress with supple drapes, drawing transverse folds.
In a loving and confident gesture, the Child Jesus holds a piece of his mother's veil in his right hand and in the other hand supports what looks like a globe, or an orb. It could also be a fruit such as an apple or a pomegranate alluding to Christ's passion and his redeeming role.
The Virgin looks at the Child with tenderness. This exchange immerses the faithful in a relationship of intimate devotion. This scene takes place in an architectural ornament. This ornament, with elements characteristic of the Gothic aesthetic, presents a three-lobed arcature inscribed in a semicircular arch, flanked by two spandrels decorated with blind three-lobed oculus and fleurons.
The theme of the Virgin and Child refers to the Nativity of Christ or the motherhood of Mary. Traditionally, this representation parallels that of the Crucifixion in the ivory diptychs of the 14th century. It is one of the most developed branches of the precious arts. During the medieval period, ivory was considered a rare material, used for both religious and secular subjects. By the 1250s, Paris became a center of production, specializing in ivory works for private devotion, prized by a wealthy and refined clientele.
Devotion, also called the "pious exercise of the Christian people" in paragraph 13 of the Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Consilium, is considered a communal religious action, freely practiced by the faithful who give themselves to God with generosity and fervor. This private devotion may be plural, and may be directed to Christ, to the Virgin Marie, to the angels or to the saints of God. Inner feelings of faith and piety are awakened by the celebration of prayer or liturgical rites. In order to foster this introspective and personal work, art becomes a primary medium for the spread of domestic piety.
Its place in important collections, such as those of Demotte, Kofler-Truniger and Kugel, gives our piece an exceptional pedigree. Its passage among these important families of enthusiasts reveals the survival of a taste and remains the guarantee of its great rarity.
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Final amount including packing and shipment to be discussed with Galerie Alexandre Piatti.