Retable of the Virgin

Spanish (Anglesola, Lérida)
Medieval (Gothic)
about 1320
Unidentified artist, Spanish, 14th century


Dimensions

Overall: 106.7 x 245.1 x 19.7 cm, 907.2 kg (42 x 96 1/2 x 7 3/4 in., 2000 lb.) Framed (Steel channel armature L-frame): 109.2 x 205.7 x 17.8 cm (43 x 81 x 7 in.)

Accession Number

24.149

Medium or Technique

Stone; limestone, intramicrite

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture

Provenance

About 1320, the Church of Anglesola, Lérida, Spain (original commission); 1907, removed from the church and taken to Barcelona by Francisco Llorens, Barcelona [see note 1]; sold by Llorens to the Lowengard family, Paris [see note 2]; March 3, 1911, Lowengard sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 113, unsold; subsequently taken to the United States by the Lowengard family and sold. 1924, George Grey Barnard (b. 1863 - d. 1938), New York [see note 3]; 1924, sold by Barnard to the MFA for $65,000. (Accession Date: April 3, 1924)

NOTES:
[1] In a letter to Edward J. Holmes of the MFA (July 27, 1926), Joseph Pijoan, at that time a visiting professor at Harvard University, indicated that the retable had come from Anglesola, and that it had been taken to Barcelona in 1907 "by a carpenter...whom we used to call Francisquet, or 'little Francis'. He had his shop on the street of Carrer de la Palla and he offered your altar to the Barcelona museum...at this time I was a member of the commission in charge of the museum and I was appointed with three others to examine the stone at Francisquet's shop." Also see Pijoan's article, "L'altar d'Anglesola al Museu de Boston," Gaseta de les Arts 3, no. 57 (September 15, 1926), p. 1.

[2] The provenance of the retable is further discussed by Paul Tachard, "A propósito del retablo de Piedra de Anglesola," Gaseta de les Arts 3, no. 59 (October 15, 1926), pp. 3-5.

[3] When Barnard offered the retable to the MFA, he claimed that it was "found on a farm near Pau, evidently from the King's Chapel at Pau, but buried during the Revolution. ... I came in possession of this treasure many years ago but the French Government ... held it for eight years intending to place it, so I am told, in the Louvre, only through my excellent relations and as owner it was recently released...and sent to me." (Letter to the MFA, February 23, 1924.) Barnard's fabricated account of the retable's origins was undoubtedly intended to increase its rarity and artistic value.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Walter Scott Fitz, Edward Jackson Holmes, John Nicholas Brown and Purchase: Marie Antoinette Evans Fund