VIRGIN AND CHILD
Oak with traces of later polychrome
(80 x 29 x 20 cm.)
Germany, Westphalia, c. 1500
As the Christ Child pushes his feet down to hoist himself further up in His mother's arms, her cloth responds in deep folds enhancing the downward force. The shift of the Virgin s hip to the viewer s left finds parallel movement in the horizontal position of the Child's leg and in the dove's (symbol of the Holy Spirit) flight, suspended by Christ's gripping hand. In these movements Christ seems like any other little boy. Thus the sculpture's sense of naturalism seems to promote the human nature of Christ. The interest in the human side of Christ's dual nature (human and divine) was of increasing interest to late medieval and Renaissance votaries and artists across Europe drew parallels between the Holy Family and Early Modern family units.