Relief with the Virgin and Child (The Virgin of Zoeterwoude)

clay relief of the Virgin and Child

Unknown artist, Utrecht
Relief with the Virgin and Child (The Virgin of Zoeterwoude), 2nd half of 15th century
Pipe clay
16 13/16 x 8 11/16 x 1 in. (42.6 x 22 x 2.5 cm)
Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht


Jan Vos also owned a tablet made of clay depicting the Virgin holding Christ in her arms. As with the Frick Virgin, an indulgence of forty days was granted to Vos’s clay tablet in exchange for the recitation of an Ave Maria. Such clay tablets were a typical production of Utrecht, where Jan Vos spent the first and last years of his career. They were made of a local material called pipe clay, which turned white upon heating, and were popular devotional objects in Carthusian communities.

Made several decades later than the specimen Jan Vos owned (now lost), this rare surviving example owes a formal debt to Eyckian designs, notably the figures of the standing Virgin and Child. Hymns in Latin and Dutch frame the image and the figures’ halos.

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