The theme of the Virgin and Child is one of the most widespread in art. Numerous artists, including famous artists, have created sculptures, paintings, and different artworks related to Virgin Mary and Child. Therefore, there are numerous styles that depict this theme in very different ways. The following comparison shows how authors have used different styles and drapery methods and created two artworks that share the same theme but have totally different moods.
The first artwork is Romanesque Virgin and Christ Child. This sculpture seems to be quite rough from the first point of view. This impression is created by the wrong proportions of bodies and textures. Obviously, the author made some body parts too big in order to turn viewers’ attention. Big palms of the Virgin Mary direct attention to Jesus. However, Jesus doesn’t look like a child. His head is too big, and he is looking straight. Usually, in most paintings and sculptures, Jesus looks into the eyes of his mother, and she looks at him. It seems that author wanted to show that the main idea of this sculpture is to emphasize the Child’s divine nature and the importance of Mary as a mother of the Messiah. The faces of both Mary and the child are emotionless. This is typical of different icons depicting saints. There are also dull tones, which are also typical of icons. It could be said that this sculpture is a 3D version of an orthodox icon.
Here is a typical icon with emotionless faces looking straight at the viewer.
It is also necessary to note that there are numerous patterns on this icon on the clothes of both the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. The clothes of the Virgin Mary are carved with lines and look not realistic and not detailed. The drapery is primitive, and it is impossible to see a silhouette in detail. There are also Christ patterns on the upper part of the chair (or throne). Finally, it is important to mention that the poses of both characters are not relaxed. They look very concentrated and sit straight.
The sculpture Enthroned Virgin and Child looks absolutely different and has quite a different mood. This sculpture is single-colored because it is made of elephant ivory. The proportions are right, and the bodies look real. This sculpture is more detailed than the first one and expresses relationships between a loving mother and child. It is possible to see almost every little detail, including nails, hair, and faces of characters. The drapery is very professional. It seems that the clothes covering Virgin Mary are very light and thin. It is even possible to see her legs and arms in detail.
Moreover, characters are full of emotions. The Virgin Mary is smiling and looks at her child with love. The poses of both characters are relaxed. Mother is holding little Jesus with her hands and is leaning forward. Jesus is holding something in his hand, and this thing doesn’t remind religious objects. Apparently, the author wanted to show that Jesus was like every human being; he experienced the same emotions and loved his mother.
The first sculpture is made of cheap materials and looks not as professional as the second one. It is also interesting that they were created in almost the same period and in the same place. However, the styles were too different. While Romanesque sculpture is not very detailed and has a serious mood, the Gothic sculpture is highly detailed and depicts Virgin Mary as a loving mother with a child. The drapery of the first sculpture doesn’t emphasize the silhouette, while the drapery of the second statue is very detailed and emphasizes different details.