Lot 389

Great gothic crescent moon Madonna
of the 15th century
Height: 169 cm.
Lime wood, hollowed out on the back side; with beautiful, nut-brown patina.
Upper Rhine, probably around 1450.

The style is characterised by an S-shaped posture of the figure of the Virgin Mary. This gave rise to the term "Beautiful Madonna", in the so-called "Soft Style". Early examples date back to shortly before 1400, the later extensions of this style reach far into the 15th century, among which the present figure is one of the most important. They are characterized by a calming of movement.

The unusually life-size carving figure shows stylistic features of the Upper Rhine carving art. The large crescent moon below the hem of the garment deserves attention. The narrow sickle points downwards and vaults over the male face, which is directed towards the floor. Here we can see a similarity with the so-called "Schrötermadonna" in Hallgarten/ Rheingau of the time around 1417, but also with the terracotta Madonna from Eberbach Monastery, around 1415 (Louvre, Paris). Although probably not set so early, the figure shows all the essential features of the Gothic period, such as the stepped cascade pleats in the dress, the child's bent arm at the mother's breast or the finely worked, graceful face of the Madonna. The child's face is highly expressive, and the hands of mother and child are also of high quality. A.R. (12417523) (11)


Large gothic 15th century Madonna on a crescent moon

Height: 169 cm.
Limewood, hollowed at the back; with beautiful, nut-brown patina.
Upper Rhine, probably around 1450.

The S-shaped posture of the statue of the Virgin is typical for this style, which is also known in German as "Schöne Madonna" or "Weicher Stil" (beautiful or soft style). Early examples can be dated to just before 1400, later offshoots of this style continue well into the 15th century, as is the case with the Madonna here. There are similarities with the so called "Schrötermadonna" in Hallgarten/ Rheingau dating ca. 1417 but also the Terracotta Madonna from Eberbach Monastery, ca. 1415 (Louvre, Paris).