Virgin and Child on the Crescent Moon

Medieval (Gothic)
about 1440–50
Unidentified artist

Place of Origin: Austria


176.5 x 55.9 x 30.5 cm (69 1/2 x 22 x 12 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood; poplar with polychromy

On View

Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)





The swaying curve of the body of the Virgin, animated by deeply carved rhythmic folds, gives to this sculpture a sense of lyricism and weightiness characteristic of later Gothic sculpture in Northern Europe. The sweetness of expression of both mother and child makes the sculpture extremely vivid and appealing to the viewer. Wearing a crown and standing upon the crescent moon with a face below, this warmly human image also has symbolic meanings, associating the Virgin with the biblical Woman of the Apocalypse.


15th century until 1797, parish church of Krenstetten, Austria [see note 1]. 1965, Wolfgang Hofstätter, Vienna; 1965, sold by Wolfgang Hofstätter to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 10, 1965)

[1] According to Wolfgang Hofstätter (letter to Hanns Swarzenski, MFA, September 23, 1965), this was the central sculpture of an altarpiece at the parish church of Krenstetten. When the church burned in 1797, the Madonna was salvaged and removed to a nearby building, where it was rediscovered after World War II.

Credit Line

Centennial Purchase Fund