Relief of the Virgin

Western French (?)
third quarter of 12th century

Object Place: Europe, France


15.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 cm (6 1/8 x 1 5/16 x 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gilded copper (98.1% copper, 1.5% lead, .4% tin, trace of zinc)

Not On View





Standing figure open in back with attachment loops on either side at the shoulders and at the bottom. Cast in one piece, chased, and gilded. Grasping a veil with her left hand just below her chin and with her right hand extended across her abdomen, the mourning Virgin stands frontally on a rectangular base with her head turned in three-quarter view. Over a long tight-sleeved gown with unevenly spaced vertical folds and flared hemline she appears to wear a wide-sleeved tunic with a damp fold over her left thigh and a paenula with a looping fold in front; the stylized draping of the two outer garments is somewhat illogical. The Virgin’s head is covered by a veil marked by parallel engraved lines that falls over the shoulders and folds over itself in a flattened stylized manner on the right side. The face is oval with delicately incised almond-shaped eyes and a horizontal incision for the mouth. The feet, with simple pointed shoes, project downward.


1937, Alphonse Kann (b. 1870 - d. 1948), Paris; July 5, 1937, sold by Kann to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P14014); April 21, 1949, Brummer sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, lot 299, to the MFA for $2,700. (Accession Date: May 12, 1949)

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund