• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7745

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture & Clocks

    9 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 22

    A CARVED IVORY GROUP OF THE VIRGIN AND CHILD

    FRENCH OR ITALIAN, CIRCA 1280-1300

    Price Realised  

    A CARVED IVORY GROUP OF THE VIRGIN AND CHILD
    FRENCH OR ITALIAN, CIRCA 1280-1300
    Minor cracks, damages and restorations.
    7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm.) high


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    As Koechlin noted in Les Ivoires Gothiques Françaises (Paris, 1924, vol. 2, pp. 124-125), the popularity of the ivory triptych with its central image of the Virgin and Child soon developed into a more sculptural form, with the central group carved almost fully in the round beneath a gothic architectural canopy supported by free-standing colonettes. This central portion was carved almost entirely from a single piece of ivory - the colonettes and pinnacles were usually carved separately - and was enclosed by hinged ivory panels with supplementary scenes carved on them in relief (for an example with its wings intact see Christie's, London, 10 Nov. 2005, lot 147).

    The present example is related to other ivory groups of the Virgin and Child enthroned including a free-standing example in the Louvre dated to 1240-1250 (Gaborit-Chopin, loc. cit.). It displays the same frontal position of both the Virgin and Child, an almost identical crown and veil, and the same distinctive thick folds of drapery, particularly as they fall in 'v-shaped' folds between the knees of the Virgin. However, there are significant stylistic differences between the Louvre ivory and the present lot, not least in the fuller facial features of the Virgin offered here, and the more naturalistic depiction of the Christ Child. The architectural niche is also highly distinctive. What this may indicate is an artistic origin outside the mainstream of French ivory gothic carving, and it is worth noting that the present lot has an Italian provenance.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    R. H. Randall, Masterpieces of Ivory from the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1985, no. 263, pp. 198-199.
    D. Gaborit-Chopin, Ivoires Médiévaux Ve-XVe siècle, Paris, 2003, no. 94, pp. 278-280.