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18th C. Spanish Colonial Wood Santo, Mary La Inmaculada

New World, Spanish Colonial style, Mexico or Guatemala, ca. 18th to 19th c. CE. A hand-carved and painted santo depicting "La Purisima Concepcion" or "La Inmaculada," symbolizing the purity of the Virgin Mary who stands on a dark globe w/ a crescent moon pointing upward. This example depicts St. John's vision of the Apocalyptic Woman, a woman clothed by the sun (note the yellow and orange highlights of her robes), with the moon under her feet, and upon her head, a golden tin crown of 12 blue glass centered stars. Size: 12.375" L x 13" W x 48.5" H (31.4 cm x 33 cm x 123.2 cm)

Saint John's vision of the Apocalyptic Woman first manifested in the 15th century, and "La Virgen del Apocalipsis" always included a serpent as part of the allegory, like we see in this example. Also consistent are Mary's demure attitude, her hands in a prayerful gesture, the sun's presence, and her feet on a globe. This composition derives from paintings by Spanish Baroque artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo, several of which were imported to Mexico in the 18th century.

Santos played an important role in bringing the Catholic Church to the New World with the Spanish colonists. These religious figures were hand-carved and often furnished with crowns, jewels, and other accessories, usually funded by religious devotees, and were used as icons to explain the major figures - Mary, Christ, and the saints - to new, indigenous converts. Likewise, they served as a connection to the Old World for Spanish colonists far from home. Many of them were lovingly cared for over the years, with repairs and paint added as they aged, and played an active part for a long time in the religious life of their communities. Oftentimes regarded as quite valuable and expensive, the creation of Santos was usually funded by religious devotees.

Condition: Stable age cracks and some losses to the wood. Expected surface wear with pigment losses and abrasions as shown. Crown shows some bending, losses, and tarnish.

Provenance: Ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, NC

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