Christ child with grapes


Michel Erhart

Ulm, c. 1470

Willow wood, polychromed

H. 40.4 cm

Gift of the Freundeskreis des Bayerischen Nationalmuseums e.V. with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung in 1991

Inv. No. 91/43

Gallery 17




This figure is not the only nude representation of the Christ child; it is however undoubtedly the most beautiful. No other carving captures the infant Jesus' movement so strikingly vivid and with such eloquent expression. The still original paint with the delicate pink on the cheeks, knees, elbows and buttocks underlines this natural effect. Merely a few subtle details indicate that no earthly child is being referred to here. His hair was once gilded, and the grapes in his hands signify the blood that he was later to shed on the cross. This and comparable figures of the infant Jesus played a central role in the Christmas traditions of women's convents; they were cared for and decorated by the nuns.

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