A & A spacer courtauld institute of art
quick search advanced search browse temp folder

Polyptych (tabernacle) (Back)

Polyptych (tabernacle) (Back)
enlarge image zoom image


Religious. Life of the Virgin.

Repository Institution

To purchase an image

Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Arts


Ivory;bone;wood (core)

Height: 216mm (statuette only); 483mm (with base)

Wings, left
Register 1: musician angel playing the recorder. Meeting at the Golden Gate (Meeting of Joachim and Anna).
Register 2: musician angel. Annunciation; dove of the Holy Spirit.
Register 3: musician angel playing the harp. Virgin praying in the Temple.
Register 4: musician angel playing the viola. Virgin weaving with angel.
Centre panel
Standing Virgin and Child; canopy; tracery; ashlar masonry.
Wings, right
Register 1: Betrothal of Joseph and the Virgin. Musician angel playing the psaltery.
Register 2: Birth of the Virgin; midwife bathing the Virgin. Angel.
Register 3: Visitation. Musician angel playing the portable organ.
Register 4: Nativity. Musician angel playing the lute.
Crosshatched background.

Randall 1993: Flemish, 1430-1460.
Detroit 1997: North Netherlandish (Utrecht), ca. 1450-1475.


Polychromy - Gilding
Traces of polychromy and gilding: cloak (blue), flower (green), wings (gold), canopy (brown and gold; blue in the vault). Traces of red, brown and green.

Geometric intarsia of bone and wood.

Object Condition
The three plain panels behind the statuette are probably later replacements.
Some losses in the intarsia.It may have had pinnacles.

The narrative sequence is not kept which may imply that the plaques were taken apart and reassembled.

Bought from Henri and Max Heilbronner, Berlin in 1923 (Founders Society purchase).

R. H. Randall, The Golden Age of Ivory: Gothic Ivory Carvings in North American Collections (New York, 1993), no. 35, pl. 7.
Images in Ivory. Precious Objects of the Gothic Age, ed. by Peter Barnet, exhibition catalogue, Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and Baltimore, The Walters Art Gallery, 1997, no. 73.
J. Warren, Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, 3 vols (Oxford, 2014), Vol. 2: Sculptures in Stone, Clay, Ivory, Bone and Wood, p. 599, in relation to no. 181.
P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550 (London, 2014), in relation to no. 175.


© Detroit Institute of Arts

All images on this website are made available exclusively for scholarly and educational purposes and may not be used commercially.

spacer spacer spacer spacer
Please remember to acknowledge any use of the site in publications and lectures as: 'Gothic Ivories Project at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, www.gothicivories.courtauld.ac.uk', followed by the date you accessed the site.