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Wise Virgin Unknown Sculptor Casting Workshop of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum (cast maker)


Unknown Sculptor

Casting Workshop of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum (cast maker) Berlin, first half of the 20th century

Alkotói korszak
Date ca. 1280-1300 (original), 1909 (cast)
Object type plaster cast
Medium, technique plaster cast

167 × 47 × 32 cm
with base: 237 × 63 × 51 cm

Inventory number Rg.23
Collection Sculptures
On view National Museum Conservation and Storage Centre, Visible Storage

The construction of the main façade of Strasbourg Cathedral began in 1275. The jamb figures of the south lateral portal, following Parisian Gothic examples, depict the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25: 1–13), warning the faithful to be prudent and to practice vigilance for the Second Coming of Christ. The foolish virgins, on the left side of the portal, are holding lamps pointed down, as they had not brought enough oil to keep them burning until the arrival of the bridegroom. On the edge of the portal, they are accompanied by the Prince of the World in fashionable attire, who proffers an apple, a symbol of sin. The wise virgins, led by Jesus, are lined up on the right with lamps pointed up (i.e., burning) as a sign of their patience and prudence. The parable became a popular theme in depictions from the twelfth century, primarily in miniature painting and small-scale sculpture. It was first featured in monumental sculpture in the decoration of Strasbourg Cathedral, which was followed by several other German cathedrals (then Strasbourg was still a part of the Holy Roman Empire). The plinths below the portal sculptures are decorated with carvings depicting the months and the signs of the zodiac.
Commissioned by the museum in 1909, the cast was made in the casting workshop of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Berlin. It was exhibited in the Romanesque Hall in 1910.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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