Virgin and Child
Circa 1300, Castille
Wood (Scots pine) with traces of polychromy and early gilding and parts repainted at a later date
H. 58 cm ; W. 21.7 cm ; D. 15.4 cm
Gift to Rodin from Igniacio Zuloaga on 30 June 1914.
The Virgin is represented seated on a throne, holding the Christ Child on her left knee. She is clad in a cloak which falls open to reveal a loose dress and wears a veil and a royal crown. Her right hand holds the flower representing the Jesse Tree, the emblem of Christ’s genealogy, which also symbolizes the Immaculate Conception, the cult of which was widespread at this time. The Child, depicted bare-headed and clothed in a tunic, makes the sign of the benediction with his right hand, and holds a sphere, the symbol of eternity, in his left.
This hieratic work, characteristic of early 14th century Castilian style, was purchased in Spain for Rodin, in 1908, by the painter Ignacio Zuloaga, a great collector of medieval art. In 1905, the sculptor had discovered the masters of Iberian art in his company, on a journey from Madrid to Seville via Toledo and Cordoba. Rodin did not receive the statue of the Virgin and Child until 1914.