The Visitation

Unknown German, German


about 1490-1510

Polychromed wood with gesso and gilt

Overall: 28 × 17 3/8 in. (71.1 × 44.2 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Bequest of Anton Adolph Raven, Class of 1937H



Place Made: Germany, Europe



Object Name


Research Area


On view


Not signed.


This relief represents a tender moment between two women who clasp hands. Cousins Mary and Elizabeth met while pregnant with Jesus and John the Baptist, respectively. Their children, each recognizing the other, leapt in their mothers’ wombs, foreshadowing John the Baptist’s role announcing Christ to the people. The older Elizabeth, with a white headdress, raises her hand to bless Mary, who is dressed in gold. The sculpture once formed part of a winged altarpiece, which combined many Biblical scenes around a central image, likely of the Crucifixion. Placed behind an altar and often elevated, such altarpieces were meant to be read from a distance. Using bright colors, glimmering gold, and simple gestures, this relief communicates the significance and intimacy of this moment.

From the 2024 exhibition Living with Sculpture: Presence and Power in Europe, 1400–1750, curated by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programming and Curator of European Art, and Ashley Offill, Curator of Collections

Course History

ARTH 15.1, Gothic Art, Jane Carroll, Spring 2019

HIST 96.39, Saints and Material Devotion, Cecilia Gaposchkin, Fall 2021

HIST 96.39, Saints and Relics, Cecilia Gaposchkin, Fall 2021

Exhibition History

Late Medieval and Renaissance Prints, Barrows Print Room, Hopkins Center Art Galleries, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 8-December 15, 1974.

Living with Sculpture: Presence and Power in Europe, 1400–1750, Citrin Family Gallery and Engles Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 23, 2024–March 22, 2025.

New Selections from the College Collection, Carpenter Galleries, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 23-June 30, 1979.

Permanent Exhibition of Selected Paintings/Objects from the College Collection, Carpenter Galleries, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 1975.

Publication History

Anneliese Harding, German Sculpture in New England Museums, 1989, p. 48, no. 71.

Dorothy Gillerman, Gothic Sculpture in America, I. The New England Museums, New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1989, p. 348-349.


Collection of Anton Adolph Raven (1895-1955, Dartmouth College Professor of English), Hanover, New Hampshire; bequeathed to present collection, 1966.

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