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Between and Mortarboard


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Query builder

The Mourning Virgin and holy women (fragment of a Crucifixion from a portable altarpiece)

Accession Number
1976/2.102

Title
The Mourning Virgin and holy women (fragment of a Crucifixion from a portable altarpiece)

Artist(s)
Embriachi Workshop, Venice, Italy

Object Creation Date
circa 1400

Medium & Support
bone

Dimensions
4 ⅝ in x 1 9/16 in x 1 ⅛ in (11.75 cm x 3.97 cm x 2.86 cm);4 ⅝ in x 1 9/16 in x 1 ⅛ in (11.75 cm x 3.97 cm x 2.86 cm);1 1/16 in x 1 9/16 in x 1 ⅛ in (2.7 cm x 3.97 cm x 2.86 cm);3 9/16 in x 1 3/10 in x 9/16 in (9.05 cm x 3.33 cm x 1.43 cm)

Credit Line
Presented in memory of Rosalie Eisenberg

Label copy
March 28, 2009
These small sculptures are evidence of an ingenious response to the growing middle-class demand for religious imagery during the later Middle Ages. These figures, accompanied by other mourners and soldiers, would have formed a Crucifixion scene in a small domestic altarpiece. They were carved from humble bone rather than exotic and expensive ivory by artists in the Venetian workshop of Baldassare degli Embriachi, who was probably more entrepreneur than artist. By employing prefabricated, modular components and inexpensive materials, the Embriachi workshop could mass-produce altarpieces—along with caskets, mirror backs, and combs—at affordable prices for a wider, less affluent clientele.

Subject matter
This diminutive sculpture represents the grief-stricken Virgin and two other mourning women along with two soldiers that, together with its companion piece depicting John the Evangelist (1966/1.108), once formed part of a Crucifixion scene in a small portable altarpiece.

Physical Description
This carved bone sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary raising her right hand in a gesture of grief while her head is bent in mourning. A similar female figure, holding her hands clasped before her, appears in profile behind the Virgin, and another female figure stands to the left. Behind the mourning women the pointed helmets worn by two soldiers may be discerned.

Primary Object Classification
Sculpture

Primary Object Type
altarpiece

Additional Object Classification(s)
Sculpture

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Christianity
altarpieces
bone (material)
carvings (visual works)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display