Virgin in Majesty in walnut carved in the... - Lot 12 - Giquello

Lot 12
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Estimation :
40000 - 60000 EUR
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Result : 114 400EUR
Virgin in Majesty in walnut carved in the... - Lot 12 - Giquello
Virgin in Majesty in walnut carved in the round with remains of polychromy. In a hieratic posture, with an upright bust, Mary is seated on a cushion resting on a throne-bench whose cylindrical columns flare out at the top; she carries her Son seated on her left knee and must have been holding a flowery scepter (no longer in existence) in her right hand; her head is encircled by a short maphorion attached to her chest by a round clasp, revealing the hair on her forehead divided by a median parting; face with impassive expression, slightly protruding eyeballs, finely hemmed almond-shaped eyes, straight nose, closed mouth and thin lips; she places her protective hand on the left arm of the Child, who is blessing with his right hand; she is clothed in a long robe and pallium embracing the body and arms, whose wide sleeves fall in vertical folds under the wrists. On the back, a square reliquary cavity bordered on three sides by a rabbet. Auvergne, Cantal, late 12th century H. 68 - W. 30.3 cm - D. 28.9 cm Old German customs stamp and inventory number S.61.176 underneath, Galerie Claude Bernard label no. S.380 (some wormholes mainly in the lower part, left arm of the Child missing, flipot on the Virgin's face). Provenance : - Joseph Hirshhorn Collection (1899-1981), Connecticut (USA). This entrepreneur and art collector donated his collection of 19th- and 20th-century works to the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington. - Claude Bernard Gallery, purchased from Joseph Hirshhorn in the 1960s. Works consulted : - I. H. Forsyth, The Throne of Wisdom - Wood Sculpture of the Madonna in romanesque France, Princeton, 1972, cat. 55 and 56. - J. Liévaux-Boccador and E. Bresset, Statuaire médiévale de collection, T I, Ed Les Clefs du temps, 1972, pp. 102-117. - Abbé R. Laurentin and R. Oursel, Vierges romanes - les vierges assises, Ed. Zodiaque, 1988. - Exhibition Paris 1992, Les Majestés du Cantal, Musée du Luxembourg, cat.22. - H. Leroy and F. Debaisieux, Vierges romanes - Portraits croisés, Ed. Debaisieux, 2009. This still-Romanesque Virgin has come down to us in a rather exceptional state of preservation. The sculptor carefully chose a walnut log so that the Virgin's head would be carved from its hardest part; as a result, the statue is monoxyle except for the added right hand. Although it is not based on the best-known canons of the Sedes auvergnates, it possesses many of their main characteristics, such as the bench supported by colonnettes, the head closely embraced by the maphorion forming a sort of helmet, and the undulations at the temples, the hair on the forehead carefully divided in two, the wide sleeves with long vertical falls under the wrists, a perfect symmetry in the drapery, repeated in both the Mother's and the Son's garments, with a zigzag median fall in two parallel folds that can also be seen on the sides; palliums are also treated identically, with stepped pleats below the knees and rounded pleats between the legs. Although in a frontal position, the Child is offset to the right, indicating a period well into the 12th century. In this respect, it is very similar to Notre-Dame de Laurie, the Virgin preserved in the Church of the Assumption in this Cantal village, with its very similar pleating and square reliquary cavity (fig.a). The ungrooved upper edge of these cavities (approx. 8 cm x 8 cm) indicates that they were opened by means of a small panel sliding upwards. It is thus thought that this type of Virgin was not always a reliquary but rather a Eucharistic reserve, which would make them tabernacle Virgins whose place was on the altar, thus emphasizing the theme of the Incarnation. Another Virgin in Majesty, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is related to Notre-Dame de Laurie (inv. no. 45-25-70, fig.b). It features a similar position of the Child, similar folds and a dorsal cavity of similar dimensions (7 cm x 7 cm). Together with the one in the Claude Bernard gallery, these three Virgins testify to the presence of a workshop in the southern Auvergne region that stands out from those in the Clermont-Ferrand area. The Laurie and Philadelphia works have undergone serious restoration, but the Majesty from the former Hirshhorn collection is the most authentic example of this production, with its severe, interiorized expression of great fascination.
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