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Pair of 17th C. Western European Wooden Cherubs

Western Europe, probably Germany, Baroque period, ca. 17th century CE. A wonderful pair of hand-carved wooden cherub figures (also known as putti) covered in fabulous light and dark brown patina. Each cherub is dramatically depicted, with a serious expression on their childish faces, staring eyes, and coiffures full of curling, wavy hair draped to the napes of their necks. Each child-like figure is posed dramatically with a sense of dynamism and movement, their heads turned towards the viewer, arms raised, as if they were both holding something large. Cherubs depicted in this artistic manner are meant to induce a sense of whimsy and romance evocative of the imagery of Cupid, Eros, or simply infants in general. Size: 6.5" W x 17.625" H (16.5 cm x 44.8 cm).

The putto or cherub figure originated in the classical period and they are typically associated with child sarcophagi; they experienced a revival in the Renaissance period, especially in the remarkable intellectual and artistic environment of 15th century Europe and Italy in particular. The artist Donatello began creating artistic renditions of cherubs around this time, and they became common decorations in both religious and secular artworks.

Condition: Larger figure has losses to hands, feet, body, and head, with one arm reattached with a long iron nail, and repair to one leg. Smaller figure has losses to hands, foot, one leg, and part of face. Both figures have surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, several stable hairline fissures, and fading to some finer details. Light earthen deposits and nice brown patina throughout.

Provenance: private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection

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