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19th C. European Painted / Gilded Wood Cherub Trio

Europe, possibly Spain or Italy, ca. 19th century CE. A beautiful bulto comprised of a trio of angel heads, perhaps representing the Holy Trinity, each one expertly hand-carved from hardwood and hand-painted with curly coiffures framing their porcelain-complected cherubic, blue-eyed faces, all surrounded by meticulously delineated and beautifully gilded wings. Size: 18.875" W x 7.5" H (47.9 cm x 19 cm)

The fact that three angels are depicted in this piece suggests a reference to the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre (Genesis 18: 1-8). This iconography was made particulaly famous in a revered Russian icon painting entitled "The Trinity" by Andrei Rublev (1411 or 1425-27). The angels of this carved wooden composition are arranged in a semicircle, quite similar to the circular arrangement of the angels in the Rublev masterwork, though Rublev depicted their full figures. In addition, the staring eyes of this piece connote a state of contemplation that is also similar to the angels of Rublev's Trinity.

Condition: Surface wear with losses to paint and gilding as shown. Some old losses and cracks to wood veneer. Halo above center angel has been reattached. Several old nails in the wood.

Provenance: From the Lilly and Francis Robiscek Collection of Religious Art, Charlotte, NC

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