Alabaster with traces of paint and gilding
Overall: 56.5 x 26 x 10.5 cm (22 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 4 1/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1954.387
The surface of alabaster works can vary. By differentiating the intensity of polishing, it is possible for sculptures to create a surface with varying degrees of luster, or shine.
In France, the use of alabaster began in the late 1200s for funerary monuments. The Archangel Gabriel, together with its counterpart, the Virgin Mary (now in the Louvre Museum, Paris) is part of an Annunciation. This is a rare example of alabaster sculpture from the 1300s. The alabaster comes from a quarry near Malaucène in Provence (France), making it an instance of long-distance trade of the rare material. Although the figure is very flat, it was likely made to also be viewed from the back, where there are remnants of gilding and the peacock feathers of the angel’s wing.
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