A Rare 14thC French Medieval Gothic Period Carved Oak Bust of A Crowned Lady c.1350

Origin: French
Period: Medieval Gothic
Provenance: The Joseph Altounian Collection
Date: c.1350-1400
Height: 8.5”
Width: 6.5”
Depth: 4.5”

The well carved oak female bust of a crowned lady, possibly the Madonna, with a draped veil and scooped neckline to her robe; the head slightly turned and with a doleful expression; her crown worn over the veil with foliage ornament; the whole showing the remains of the original polychrome, gilding and gesso foundation with a white and red pigment; the fragment probably the upper part of a larger sculpture of the Saint Dié group and surviving from medieval northern France.

Considering the considerable age, the piece is in sound overall condition, with an exceptional undisturbed patina. There are chips and losses as photographed with some old woodworm not now present. There is an inventory sticker to the reverse reading  "ANNEXE N ° 391".

This label refers to being once part of the collection of Altounian-Rousset and was accompanied by a previously researched and illustrated six-page cataloguing document with parallels and was previously acquired from Artcurial in Paris in 2019 where it sold for 5,460 euros. Joseph Altounian has long been regarded as one of the most renowned antique dealers of the 20thcentury, coming from a long line of antique dealers. Born in Armenia, Altounian moved to Paris in the early 1900’s, becoming a member of an avant-garde set with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Guillaume Apollinare and Max Jacob.

(Please also see Cf. Forsyth, W.H., Mediaeval Statues of the Virgin in Lorraine Related in Type to the Saint-Die Virgin, Metropolitan Museum Studies, vol. 5, no. 2 (Sep. 1936), pp.235-258 for a comparable example.)

Gothic art emerged during the Medieval Gothic period, which lasted for more than 200 years. It began with the architectural achievements of the 12th century as Europe was trying to move beyond the Dark ages into an era of confidence, radiance, and prosperity. It was supplemented by the solidification of Christianity when new cathedrals and churches were being built in Northern France, for example in Chartres, Amiens and Reims which is where this piece was crafted. Unlike the forms of art that preceded it, Gothic art was characterised by an increase in naturalistic features.

An important and incredibly soulful artifact.