Stone sculpture of the Madonna and Child. Superbly carved in sandstone during the mid-14th century. Probably from the Rhineland or Northern France, otherwise Polish work.
The Madonna is shown standing and carrying the Christ Child. Her posture is contrapposto, with her left leg taking the weight of her body and her left hip jutting out to hold up the baby. This makes the body twist to the right, leaning slightly backwards. Mary’s apparel consists of several layers of differing lengths, painted blue, red and gold, and she is also wearing a templette and golden crown. Her friendly oval face is surrounded by golden tresses. The chemise worn by the sizeable Christ Child is gold all over. Turning towards Mary, he puts his right hand on her breast and looks up into her face.
Mary was the most important of medieval saints. Just as with Christ on the cross, so the portrayal of Madonna and Child was developed and transformed. Starting with a more exalted Mary, the Queen of Heaven, representations changed in favour of emphasising her gentle, motherly characteristics, as this sculpture testifies.
Just as the humanity of Christ was highlighted in late-medieval crucifixes, so Mary came to be more and more depicted as the person, the mother with whom the faithful could naturally identify.
The dating and provenance of the stature have been questioned of late, one possible hypothesis being that it was carved a hundred years later and is Polish work. Whatever its period of origin, this Madonna is a very exclusive piece of work to be adorning a country church. Its exclusiveness and its path to the church are also the subjects of several hypotheses, e.g. that they have something to do with the King’s close connection with this parish and its church.