UNKNOWN MASTER, German
(active c. 1480 in Nuremberg)

Virgin and Child on a Crescent Moon

c. 1480
Limewood with paint, 192 x 69 x 43 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Carved in high relief, this sculpture was undoubtedly the focal group in the central shrine of a large winged altarpiece of a type that flourished in southern Germany and Austria in the late Gothic period. The image of the Virgin on a crescent moon reflects the vision of St John (Apocalypse 12:1): "a woman clothed in the sun, and the moon was under her feet." The orb held by Christ signifies his role as spiritual ruler of the world, while the grapes in his mother's hand symbolize the wine of the Mass.




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