seated figure of Mary with long, thick brown hair, wearing rich robes of gold, blue and red, holding nude baby Jesus on her lap, breastfeeding; Jesus' brown hair is styled in ringlets close to his head

Virgin of the Milk (Virgen de la leche), c. 1500

Polychromed woodexpand_more

The William Hood Dunwoody Fundexpand_more  2012.12

This medieval sculpture of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding her son is unexpectedly naturalistic for its time. Milk was considered refined blood from the mother’s womb, and images of the Virgin breastfeeding the Christ child had theological significance. It was thought the Virgin’s milk, like the blood of Jesus on the cross, had redemptive properties.

Details
Title
Virgin of the Milk (Virgen de la leche)
Artist Life
active Burgos, Spain, 1486–1501
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2012.12
Curator Approved

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seated figure of Mary with long, thick brown hair, wearing rich robes of gold, blue and red, holding nude baby Jesus on her lap, breastfeeding; Jesus' brown hair is styled in ringlets close to his head