While displaying an open book to the viewer, the Christ child turns to gaze at his mother. This sculpture, with its softly modeled drapery and graceful posture, is undoubtedly similar to the French examples that inspired the lyricism of Nino Pisano’s Virgin (DIA acc. no. 27.150). The sculpture is characteristic of French Gothic art of the fourteenth century, when Paris played a dominant role in Europe. Paris was the capital of the powerful Capetian monarchy, the seat of a bishop, the site of a great university, and a major trade center. This elegant “Court Style” was highly influential across Europe during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Artist French
  • Virgin and Child
Date between 1325 and 1350
Medium Marble with traces of polychromy
Dimensions Overall: 40 × 14 × 8 1/2 inches (101.6 × 35.6 × 21.6 cm)
Overall (pedestal): 40 1/2 × 29 × 25 inches (102.9 × 73.7 × 63.5 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Ralph Harman Booth Bequest Fund
Accession Number 40.1
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W221, Level 2 (see map)
ca. 1789-1799, possibly (Saint-Denis, France).
possibly Bossy collection (Paris, France).
William Randolph Hearst collection (New York, New York, USA);
Henry Schniewind (New York, New York, USA).
(Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., New York, New York, USA);
1940-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Robinson, Francis W. "A French Gothic Virgin of the Fourteenth Century." Bulletin of the DIA 19, no. 7 (April 1940): pp. 74-76, p. 75 (ill.).

DIA Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 69.

Moskowitz, Anita Fiderer. "A Madonna and Child Statue: Reversing a Reattribution." Bulletin of the DIA 61, no. 4 (1984): pp. 34-47, p. 45 (fig. 18).

Aubert, M. Description Raisonnée des Sculptures du Moyen Age, de la Renaissance et des Temps Modernes, vol. 1: MOYEN AGE. Paris, 1950, pp. 141-142, no. 204.

Suckale, Robert. Studien zu Stilbildung und Stilwandel der Madonnen Statuen der Ile-de-France Zwischen 1230 und 1300. Diss., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munich, 1971, p. 198.

Gillerman, Dorothy. Gothic Sculpture in America, vol. II. The Museums of the Midwest. Turnhout, 2001, p. 137, no. 104.