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19th C. Mexican Colonial Painted Wood Christ Child

Spanish Colonial influenced Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. An antique figure depicting the child Jesus, hand carved from wood and hand painted, nude save the flowing cloth that covers his privates and flows up and over his right shoulder, the billowing striped fabrics displaying many folds in the drapery. Take a close look and the details abound. Note the carefully painted lashed eyes, full rosy cheeks, smiling red lips, and the cascading wavy golden brown coiffure framing the Christ child's visage. The soft cherubic body was painted in hues of cream and pink and further detailed with finely carved fingers and toes. He holds his left arm out toward the viewer, while his right hand is raised toward the heavenly realm. A beautiful example for its artistry and spiritual significance! Custom stand. Size: 8.625" W x 14.625" H (21.9 cm x 37.1 cm); 16.5" H (41.9 cm) on the stand

Carved santos of saints, angels, members of the Holy Family, and personages of the Holy Trinity, also called "bultos," are devotional statues which were traditionally carved from wood and painted with gesso, polychrome and in some cases gold "estodfado." Of course this is the infant Jesus and as such was intended to be represented nude. However, figures were often dressed in fine silk garments with intricately detailed embroideries, real jewels, and precious metals. The technical skills required to carve a wooden figure are quite impressive, as wood has a tendency to crack and be impacted by changes in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the texture of wood is very challenging, and great skill is required to capture the subtleties of facial expressions and features.

Condition: Surface discoloration from age and the elements and expected wear and fissures with areas of loss. Painted surface shows some crazing as well. Some losses and cracking around old metal eye hooks on the verso. Loss to wooden dowel protruding from lower end of the rear.

Provenance: private Moore collection, Denver, Colorado, USA, acquired thirty years ago

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