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date: 29 January 2020

Viklau Madonnalocked

  • Harriet Sonne de Torrens


Wooden statue (h. 680 mm; Stockholm, Stat. Hist. Mus.) made c. 1170–80. The elegant proportions of the Viklau Madonna mark the transition of Scandinavian art from the northern Romanesque period to the Gothic style. Roosval (1925) was the first to draw attention to the similarities between the slender proportions of the Viklau Madonna and the columnar figures ornamenting the portals of the Chartres Cathedral (see Chartres). The refined and sensitive facial features set it apart from earlier works and firmly align this wooden statue with the new emerging Gothic style in western Europe.

Originally from the parish church of Viklau on the Swedish island of Gotland, the enthroned figure of the Virgin (the figure of the Christ Child has long been missing), has been in the Statens Historiska Museum in Stockholm since 1928. The diminutive size of the figure suggests that it might once have stood on an altar or formed part of a larger, wooden altarpiece. The fact that it is small in scale, carved from wood, painted and gilded, suggests it was portable and probably used in different locations....

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