This Virgin with a tender look is typical of the Malines workshops, although it is not marked. She carries the child on her right arm and her dress falls in deep broken folds. These small statuettes, easy to transport and affordable, were intended for private devotion. Among the Virgins with Child that appear in the reference book 'Made in Mechelen: Les statuettes malinoises ou poupées de Malines de 1500-1540. Étude matérielle et typologique' (Irpa/Kik 2019, Scientia Artis n°16), our Virgin is the closest to the Virgin 2.59b (p87), the one in the Louvre (inv. R.F.4437 ): Child lying down (not seated) and supported by the two hands of the Virgin while the two hands of the Child rest on the chest of the Virgin. The body of the Virgin is slightly 'S' shaped. Our Virgin (face and draping) is also very close to the 'Vierge à l'Enfant' in the Hôtel Dieu of Beaune (inv. 87 GHD 882) in the book ill2.62 on p89) but the Child of this Virgin is seated (not lying). Both sculptures are classified (p87) as dating from the 'Malines-Brussels' period, i.e. sculpted in Malines and polychromed in Brussels. This is the first period of manufacture of this type of Virgin and Child and corresponds to the period 1500-1510 (dating p209). Our Virgin with Child is, moreover, a 'Maria Lactans', which is very rare for a Poupée de Malines.
Wear, numerous traces of xylophagi, losses (crack in the right cheek of the Virgin, small part of the right sleeve of the Virgin and nose of the Child missing as well as old filling on the back part of the skull of the Child). Polychromy disappeared.
Bibliography: ‘Made in Malines: Les statuettes malinoises ou poupées de Malines de 1500-1540. Étude matérielle et typologique’ (Irpa/Kik 2019, Scientia Artis n°16), Fanny Cayron & Delphine Steyaert sous direction scientifique d’Emmanuelle Mercier.
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