A Fabulous Late Medieval Walnut Figural Group – Mary’s Presentation at the Temple
The seven figures, beautifully carved, with expressive faces and hand gestures. The details of the head-dresses and clothes are also exceptionally well executed.
In the West, the Feast of the Presentation dates back to the 15th century, and is based on an ancient belief that Mary was taken to the temple in Jerusalem when she was 3 years old, and dedicated to God.
In this carving the four male figures are the priests and high priest (seated) of the temple. The lady looking forward is Anne – Mary’s mother – and of the two children, one is Mary, and the second Mary’s sister – Mary of Clopas (mother of James).
Referred to as a “retable”, it is probable that this panel was positioned above and behind an altar.
Antwerp, circa 1450-1500.
Width 13.5 inches, height 15 inches, depth 3.5 inches.