UNKNOWN MASTER, German
(active around 1390 in Middle Rhine)

Virgin and Child

c. 1390
Red sandstone, restored with plaster, height 151 cm
Carmelite church, Mainz

A variant of the Beautiful Madonnas can be found in the figures of the Virgin created by sculptors of the Middle Rhine around 1400. They are known as "Grapevine Madonnas." These Madonnas hold in their right hand a crucifix in the form of a tree which in some cases becomes a vine hung with grapes. On one such figure, from the Carmelite church in Mainz, angels hover around the tree-cross catching the blood from the wound of the crucified Christ. Above this a pelican tearing open its breast with its beak in order to feed its young with its own blood, a symbol of Christ sacrificing himself for humanity.




© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.