Collection Online

Saint Barbara
(c. 1420)

Medium
Oak (Quercus sp.)
Measurements
108.0 × 51.3 × 32.6 cm
Place/s of Execution
Northern France, France
Accession Number
518-D4
Department
International Sculpture
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1946
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International
About
This carved oak figure, once painted, is a late example of the ‘Beautiful’ or ‘International’ style which pervaded central Europe around 1400. This courtly aesthetic is characterised by an undulating S-curve of the body, and the use of modern luxury dress. Barbara is shown with the tower in which she was locked away from suitors and where she converted to Christianity. Traces of red on her robe indicate a martyr’s gown. Barbara was believed to provide protection against lightning and explosions, and thus may have been made for a domestic setting, conceivably in a covered but visible area outside a house.