Richly Gilded Wooden Statue of the Virgin Mary

Inventory Number: 42376



This beautiful wooden statue joined the Vatican Museums’ collection in 1978.

It depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus in her lap in a configuration common to the well known iconography of the 14th Century. This particular form of iconography developed at the end of the Middle Ages, and influenced many styles of painting and sculpture. The Virgin was usually seated like a queen, holding her child with an aura of regal dignity and maternal affection. Her gesture of blessing was a common position for this type of statue. In this wooden sculpture, the Virgin Mary sits on an imposing throne, which was originally decorated with small arcades and a central column in stucco. A study of her hairstyle revealed that she once wore a crown, but this adornment has unfortunately been lost. The statue was carved from one piece of chestnut wood and the inside was hollowed out in order to make transportation of the piece easier. This piece is expected to return on display after being held temporarily in storage.