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Examination of Late Gothic Art in Terms of Fashion: The Virgin of Paris

0 December 01 2017, 16:01 in History Essays

Examination of Late Gothic Art in Terms of Fashion: The Virgin of Paris

There have been many renditions of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus through sculptures and paintings. One of the most popular "mother and child” art is the Virgin of Paris sculpture currently located at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. This specific artwork in marble is an example of a court style in Late Gothic sculpture. This paper examines this artwork and how it is conveyed in terms of fashion.

One of the elements of Late Gothic sculptures is the S-curve seen in this sculpture. In this stance, Mary is potrayed, "in an exaggerated S-curve posture” wherein her left hip is swayed on one side (Gardner, p. 380). This S-curve is also known as the Praxitlian. It should be noted that Late Gothic art veered away from sculptures that were carved against walls or columns. Instead, sculptures were made standing on their own, albeit with the support of a pedestal. Another element of fashion visible in this sculpture is how shadow and light have been contrasted. The sculpture evidently displays indentations and layering of the dress that Mary wore as well as that of the clothing of infant Jesus. The Virgin Mother wore a flowing robe that is evidently suggesting royal garments. Furthermore, Mary is decked out with gems and other jewelry embedded in the giant crown on her head. This illustrates how Mary is referred as someone with a royal standing considering that she is the mother of the Son of God. Moreover, Late Gothic art is characterized by the humanization of the figure’s faces. This humanized rendering of the figures can be seen in how the infant Jesus is extending his arm as if reaching out to his mother. Though Mary and Jesus are religious figures, they present more natural and humanized facial expressions rather than the more solemnized rendering of the Early Gothic phase.

The Virgin of Parissculpture is a good example of Late Gothic art because it exhibits the major elements of this art style, especially in terms of fashion. It has the S-curve posture of the Virgin Mary. It shows the contrasts of light and dark through the recesses in the fabric of clothing, royal garments, and the heavily encrusted crown. And it has more humanized expressions of the faces. These elements make the Virgin of Paris one of the most popular examples of the "mother and child” art work.

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