239. Madonna and Child

South Germany, 12th century
Size: 66 cm high
Limewood

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A long river journey has worn smooth and reshaped the Heian Bosatsu that follows. This Madonna, by contrast, has been worn ragged and pitted by the remorseless dripping of rain through the ravaged roof of an abbey or church. It is a potent symbol of the religious strife initiated by the Catholic Church, against the Hussites in Czechoslovakia in the 15th century, and against the Protestants in Germany and France in the 16th century. An organization that believes it is the representative of God on Earth seems inevitably to wish to extirpate any attempt at reform as the work of the Devil! 

Provenance: Paul De Grande
Private collection, Belgium