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    Sale 7623

    Important Early European Furniture, Sculpture and Tapestries

    6 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 510

    A RECTANGULAR CARVED IVORY DIPTYCH OF THE CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN AND THE CRUCIFIXION

    FLEMISH, SECOND HALF 14TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RECTANGULAR CARVED IVORY DIPTYCH OF THE CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN AND THE CRUCIFIXION
    FLEMISH, SECOND HALF 14TH CENTURY
    The left panel depicting the Virgin and Child seated on a throne with two angels above them lowering a crown onto the former's head, flanked on the left by St John the Baptist holding the lamb of God and on the right by St Catherine carrying a martyr's palm and a wheel; the right panel with Christ crucified to the centre and flanked to his left by the Good Thief and to the right by the Bad Thief, with a crowd of attendant figures to the bases of the crosses; each scene contained beneath a pointed gothic trefoiled arcade; the hinges damaged, minor shrinkage cracks
    5 3/8 x 3 5/8 (13.8 x 9.2 cm.) each panel; 7¼ in. (18.5 cm.) wide, overall


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    French gothic ivory diptychs have been, since the 13th century, a portable devotional companion for the pious. Commonly seen as the close relative of the illuminated manuscript, they facilitated, in three dimensions, private devotion away from church, and represented an innovation in the artistic dramatisation of the lives of Christ and the Virgin.

    The availability of ivory and the growing number of production centers in France during the 13th and 14th centuries suggests that craftsmen were catering to a large demand for such devotional objects. They varied in size and quality, with diptychs being made for hand-held contemplation or to be placed on a table as a visual and tangible aid to prayer.

    Juxtaposed in the present example are two representations of the Virgin and Child adorned by attendants and the crucified Christ. This type of representation follows not only an established narrative tradition that focused predominantly on the Passion and the life of the Virgin, but also a stylistic convention that remained consistent for over two centuries of artistic production. This stylistic approach is governed by the harmonious and geometric representation of the principal figures. The importance of the Virgin and Child on the left is suggested by their disproportionately larger size than of the flanking attendants. In unison however, these four figures comfortably fill the area beneath the gothic architectural backdrop and contain none of the awkwardness or rigidity of, for example, 4th century BC Greek relief sculpture where deities tower above the clearly inferior mortals. Similarly, on the right leaf, the central dominant figure of Christ divides two virtually symmetrical groups of people - to the left are the three Maries with the Virgin's swoon being reflected by St. John's posture on the right who is also accompanied by two attendants.

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    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.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A NOBLEMAN