TillbakaLike a Father and Mother


Madonna standing with the Christ Child. Polychrome sculpture, carved in broadleaf wood. made during the first quarter of the 16th century in Haaken Gulleson’s workshop. The carving has multiple damage, e.g. the right hand and, in the stomach, a hole for a mounting attachment.

Maria stands frontally, carrying the Infant Jesus on her left arm. There was probably an object of some kind in her extended right hand. She is wearing a green gown, a golden mantle with a blue lining, and red shoes. On her head is a crown with a narrow ornamental border. The child is dressed in a red frock, and a book rests in his hands. In the Madonna’s stomach there is a hole which probably carried a support for the lost object formerly held in her right hand. The Madonna is architecturally framed in a dorsal, painted with a mandorla consisting of golden rays surrounding her body. There is also a painted halo about her head.


In the book which the Christ Child is holding, we read “Ego: diligentes me: diligo,” meaning “I love them that love” (Proverbs 9:17). The painted halo is surrounded by another inscription, the right-hand part of which has been partly lost, though the words “et luna” are discernible, and so the text is probably ”O mulier amicta sole et luna sub pedibus eius” (Revelation 12:1), meaning ”O woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under [your] feet.” The left side, which is more intact, bears the unusual inscription “Unde fiat mihi ut veniat mater d(o)m(ini) mei ad me,” which means “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” i.e. the words addressed by Elisabeth to Mary at the Visitation (Luke 1:43). This inscription is rare in depictions of the Madonna and is usually found in Visitation scenes. One possible explanation is that the group once included a figure of Elisabeth, but no carving survives to corroborate this theory.