Art History 12

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This paper will attempt to give a descriptive analysis and comparison of two medieval sculptures viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first sculpture entitled, “Virgin and Child;” attributed to Claus de Werve, a Netherlandish sculptor by Pierre Quarre a curator and chief of Musees de Djon and a leading authority on Burgundian sculpture. Claus de Werve was commissioned by the Duke and Duchess of the town of Poligny to create this statue for the convent which was headed by a Francisean nun named Colette between 1415-1417. The statue which is made of painted limestone is believed to be a gift that was commissioned for the convent. The second sculpture is entitled, “Mother and Child; Mali” which was created in Mali by the Bomana peoples. The statue of Virgin and Child is a religious humane figure of the Virgin Mother Mary and Jesus as a young boy which is associated with the Catholic Church and Christianity. This sculpture illustrates a mother and son involved in a tender moment. The statue is big in size and its dimensions are 53 x 42 x 28 inches and sits in the center of the Medieval Art exhibit in room 304 of the museum. The Virgin Mary in this sculpture appears very large in size as compared to the child. Her curly brown hair is positioned back away from her face, which is long and cascades down the sides of her face on to her shoulders. The skin of this sculpture resembles those associated with Caucasians with thin lips and long pointed noses. Her complexion or skin color I cannot tell because it is featured in a very dark room of the museum. On top of her head there appears to be a cloak or hood like garment that comes up to the middle of her head. She is wearing a long free flowing gown or dress underneath the cloak while she is sitting on a bench or piece of wood like structure. The child in this sculptured art has short curly brown hair and is wearing loose fitted clothing from that time period while sitting on the lap of the Virgin Mary. He appears comfortable as he sits in an angular position backwards gazing up into her face. As he sits on the lap of the Virgin Mother he gazes up into her face so matter of factly while he talks with her about the discoveries found in this book called the bible. The child appears to be pointing specifically to an important scripture or words of wisdom to emphasize perhaps to his mother the importance of learning this knowledge from the bible. The child’s actions and facial expressions appear to illustrate that he is the teacher and she is the student getting lessons on Christianity. Upon looking at the child’s posture the viewers can immediately assume that this child possesses a special quality or trait not found in other children. The facial expressions displayed on both mother and child signals a special unique moment that can only be shared between the two. The loving manner in which she firmly and carefully cradles her son with her left arm while holding the bible with her right lets viewers know that she wants to keep him safe from harm and prevent him from falling to the ground. At the same time her posture appears regal and straight as she looks down adoringly at her son with head slightly bowed while quietly and intensely listens to her son. On her face is a small smile that evokes pride for being selected as the chosen one to give birth to this special gift. The facial expressions of the Virgin Mary face appears to send encouraging signals to continue practicing his teachings so that she can perhaps help spread words of wisdom to others.. The second sculpture that will be discussed is entitled Mother and Child; Mali, which was created and carved out of wood by peoples living in Western Africa, called Bamana peoples. These individuals have artistic traditions in pottery, sculpture and beautiful cloths that are very distinct and connected to their cultural history that dates back to the 17th century. This group is located in the Bougouni or Diola area of Mali,...
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