An early 16th century Virgin with Child Acquired by the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours

1. Touraine, vers 1520
Virgin with Child
Alabaster, Modern Gilding - 51 x 16 x 11 cm
Tours, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Tours, musée des Beaux-Arts/F. Lauginie

25/5/12 - Acquisition - Tours, Musée des Beaux-Arts - On 6 April 2011, about a year before acquiring the Suvée painting mentioned in the preceding news item, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours had purchased an alabaster Virgin with Child (ill. 1), at a Sotheby’s Paris auction for 84,750€ (including charges) which is today presented in the exhibition Tours 1500. Capitale des arts (see here in French).

The work had been known since the mid-19th century. In 1930, Paul Vitry, comparing it to the Olivet Virgin at the Louvre, had placed it in the early third of the 16th century in the Tours school. It can be associated with many sculptures of the Virgin with Child, notably the Ecouen Virgin (also at the Louvre) and the one in the Sens cathedral, both currently on view at the museum in Tours.
When presented at the Sotheby’s auction, this statuette was attributed to the sculptor Guillaume Regnault, Michel Colombe’s nephew. Although the Tours origins and the date have both remain unchanged, the museum no longer gives it to this sculptor (at least in the catalogue entry by Béatrice de Chancel Bardelot) and prefers to keep it anonymous.

2. Touraine, end of XVth century or around 1500
Virgin of Pity
Tufa, Polychrome Marks - 78 x 103 x 44 cm
Tours, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Tours, musée des Beaux-Arts/F. Lauginie

Along with the two panels of Christ and the Virgin by Jean Bourdichon and his studio, this sculpture is one of the four works from Tours around 1500 which the museum has acquired in the last few years. We had overlooked the June 2006 purchase of a tufa Virgin of Pity which we now reproduce here [1] (ill. 2).

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 29 mai 2012


[1] Like the others mentioned above, this work is on view at the exhibition now taking place Tours 1500. Capitale des arts.

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