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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:17

Video transcript

we're looking at a small Romanesque wooden carving of the Madonna and Child enthroned it's actually very well preserved it's really only missing as far as I can see the Crown's that they would have originally worn price right hand is up his two forefingers are up in a blessing he's holding a Bible for our regard with Romanesque sculpture of the sort there's the notion that it's not Mary that's enthroned so much as Christ is enthroned by Mary they're both very frontal but Mary does become a throne for Christ who doesn't look at all like a little baby but rather like a small man now there's a very specific reason for that of course the artist had seen many babies and knew that the Christ would not have looked like this at this age but this is a symbolic form and the idea was how does one marry the relationship between an all-knowing God and a young child how do you represent a baby with the wisdom of God of God himself this is a remarkably beautiful sculpture I'm struck not only by the color by the painting and the decorative worms on for example her mantle and the clothing that Christ wears but just the delicacy of the carving that shawl that goes over his left shoulder and the ripples that come down at the edges of it and ride up back over his left knee this period of Romanesque in its being in the late 11th and early 12th century of building of painting the walls of these new churches during this period of decorating them with forms for veneration worship like we see here so this would have been one object within a much more elaborate decorative program I think that one of the characteristics that is important for me when I look at the Romanesque a kind of elegance but also kind of massiveness she has this really elongated face obviously it's much too large for her body but that really focuses our attention on Mary and and her importance and I'm also struck by the way that the coloring of the painting of the wood helps to make the figure much more real and how important that must have been if you're in church and you're praying you're surrounded by these murals his wall paintings you come up perhaps to an altar and this is you know one figure perhaps among many on the altar and how real she would have seemed you were mentioning not only the fine carving but also the painting there's a lot of the decorative painting is still in place and you can see that the painting has been built up with a little bit of stucco in certain places around her collar here that's absolutely right so this is beautiful decorative detail that you were speaking of but there's also I think a kind of sense of the maternal she's very human there's a great sense of empathy that I feel when I look at her and of course there is always the sense of the tragic when we look at the Virgin and Child because of her knowledge of Christ's eventual fate I think that the artist manages to convey some of the human relationship between these figures even within this formula of representing the Madonna enthroned with Christ