Lower Rhenish Master
Anna Selbdritt – Virgin and Child with St. Anne, around 1520
Basswood / 44.5 cm
Inv. no. D3300 / Purchased in 1928
The expression ‘Anna selbdritt’ in Middle High German means ‘Anne herself making a third’ and is the term for an ensemble of figures consisting of St. Anne, her daughter Mary and the infant Jesus. The once colorfully painted wooden sculpture exhibits a stylistic and typological proximity to the works of artists of the Rhine-Meuse region. The two similarly sized women, a youthful Mary with elaborately worked, open hair and the matronly Anne wearing a bonnet are seated facing each other on a bench. Jesus, on his grandmother's lap, is reaching with his right hand to grasp a grape offered by Mary. The grape had already been used as a symbol for motherhood in early Gothic depictions of the Virgin. In Christian Eucharistic symbolism Mary is the vine that brings forth the Christ child as a divine fruit or grape.