09 Carvings & Sculpture from the Bible! 15 – 19th Century. With Footnote, # 13

Rhine-mosan region, end of the 16th century

The Virgin with the grape 

Walnut 

wood 

H. 103 cm (40 1/2 in.) l. : 26 cm (12 ¼ in.)

Private collection

A walnut wood statue with The Virgin depicted sitting and handing a bunch of grapes to the Child standing on Her left knee, his finger extended towards the bunch, her hair waving under a veil. More on this work

The Christ Child, seated on Mary’s lap, takes from the bunch of grapes that his mother holds, refers to the Eucharist and to his role as Redeemer. 

South German, 17th/18th century 

A BUST OF SAINT BARBARA

Carved wood and polychrome

67cm.

Private collection

Saint Barbara is a former Christian saint and virgin martyr believed to have lived in Asia Minor in the 3rd century. Her story dates to the 7th century and is retold in the Golden Legend. It is as follows: Dioscurus, the father of Barbara, was a heartless nobleman who had a tower built so that he could lock his daughter away to deter suitors. At first the tower only had two windows; however, Barbara persuaded the workmen to add a third when her father wasn’t looking. She also secretly admitted a priest disguised as a doctor, who baptized her to become Christian. When her father returned, Barbara declared that the three windows symbolized the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost who ignited her soul. Dioscurus grew enraged and chased his daughter who had fled the tower. She hid in the crevice of a rock; however, a shepherd told her father of her hiding place. Once found, Barbara was dragged out by the hair and beaten by her father who next handed her over to the Roman authorities. She refused to renounce her Christian beliefs and was tortured. Miraculously, at the moment of her execution by her father’s sword, he was struck by lightning, his body devoured by fire. More on Saint Barbara 

Flemish work. Period: late XV-early XVIth

Saint Anne, the Virgin and the Child Jesus 

Carved and tinted walnut

H.:+/-42.8cm. 

Private collection

Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters/sculptures from neighbouring countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence. Since the end of the Napoleonic era, Flemish painters had again been contributing to a reputation that had been set by the Old Masters. More FLEMISH SCHOOL

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, or Madonna and Child with Saint Anne, is a subject in Christian art showing Saint Anne with her daughter, the Virgin Mary, and her grandson Jesus.[5] This depiction has been popular in Germany and neighboring countries since the 14th century.

The relationship of St. Anne to the immaculate conception of her daughter is not explicit, but her mystical participation is implied in the nested framing of her embrace of her virgin daughter embracing her divine grandson. This should not be confused with the perpetual virginity of Mary or the virgin birth of Jesus. Although the belief was widely held since at least Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not formally proclaimed until December 8, 1854 when it was dogmatically defined in the Western Latin Rite by Pope Pius IX via his papal bull, Ineffabilis Deus. It was never explicitly so in the Eastern churches. More on Saint Anne, the Virgin and the Child Jesus 

Seat of Wisdom (Sedes Sapientiae)

Carved and polychromed wooden sculpture.  c. 13th century. 

Height: 52 cm.

Private collection

Mary, in a frontal position, holds the Christ Child, centered, on her lap.  He gives blessing with his right arm and holds the orb with his left.  Mary, wearing a veil, is holding a flower with her right hand and gathers up her cloak in her left. More on this work

In Roman Catholic tradition, “Seat of Wisdom” or “Throne of Wisdom” is one of many devotional titles for Mary, the Mother of God. It refers to her status as the vessel in which the Holy Child was borne. In “Seat of Wisdom” icons and sculptures, Mary is seated on a throne with the Christ Child on her lap. More on the Seat of Wisdom

Virgin and child in majesty (Sedes Sapientiae)

Carved polychrome wooden sculpture, with a dominance of red and green tones. 13th Century. 

Height: 59 cm.

Private collection

Mary is facing forwards, crowned and seated on the throne of glory. She is wearing a red tunic and a green cloak which covers her lap, on which the Christ Child rests, also in a forward facing position and giving blessing, whilst holding the book of the Holy Scriptures with the left hand. The Christ child´s right hand is missing. More on this work

Virgin and child in majesty. This type of sculpture, with the Christ Child seated in the Virgin’s lap in a frontal pose, is known as a Throne of Wisdom (Sedes Sapientiae). This seemingly straightforward image conveys complex theological ideas. Christ, as the Son of God, is Wisdom incarnate. Mary, who carried Christ in her womb and who holds him on her lap, serves as his seat, or throne. Christ would have grasped a Bible, a further representation of the divine wisdom that he himself embodies. 

Beginning about 1100, Mary was increasingly revered as a nurturing, merciful intercessor. Such statues of her were used as devotional objects and may have been carried in church processions. More on Virgin and child in majesty

Virgin and child in majesty (Sedes Sapientiae)

Gilt and polychrome carved wooden sculpture. Gothic. 14th Century. 

40 x 19 x 12 cm.

Private collection

The virgin is seated on her throne of glory and holding the Christ Child on her lap, while in her right hand she holds the world. She is wearing a tunic and a cloak which falls over her knees. A veil over her head frames her face. The Christ Child is giving blessing with his right hand whilst he holds the globe of the world in his left.  More on this work

Virgin and child in majesty, see above

French, late 18th century

JOSEPH INTERPRETS PHARAOH’S DREAMS

terracotta relief ; on a wooden stand imitating marble

23 x 34 cm; 9 by 13 2/5 in.

Private collection

Pharaoh awoke from a dream. In the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”  Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” More on Pharaoh dream

French Art, late 18th century. In France, the death of Louis XIV lead to a period of licentious freedom commonly called the Régence. The heir to Louis XIV, his great grandson Louis XV of France, was only 5 years old; for the next seven years France was ruled by the regent Philippe II of Orléans. Versailles was abandoned from 1715 to 1722. Painting turned toward “fêtes galantes”, theater settings and the female nude. Painters from this period include Antoine Watteau, Nicolas Lancret and François Boucher. 

The Louis XV style of decoration was lighter: pastels and wood panels, smaller rooms, less gilding and fewer brocades; shells and garlands. Rooms were more intimate. After the return to Versailles, many of the baroque rooms of Louis XIV were redesigned. 

The latter half of the 18th century continued to see French preeminence in Europe, particularly through the arts and sciences, and the French language was the lingua franca of the European courts. The French academic system continued to produce artists. Although the hierarchy of genres continued to be respected officially, genre painting, landscape, portrait and still life were extremely fashionable. More on French Art, late 18th century

Professore Rossi, Italian, second half 19th century

RUTH, for Galleria Bazzanti

White marble

110cm., 43 5/8 in.

Private collection

The Old Testament figure Ruth was greatly romanticised during the 19th century. Shown with sheaves in both hands, Ruth is here depicted in the act of gleaning, the sculptor’s attention to detail clearly visible in the highly realistic carving of the wheat and Ruth’s garments and headdress. Considering the combination of motifs from both Romanelli’s and Rosetti’s work, and the inscription of the Galleria Bazzanti, it may be presumed that the sculptor of the present marble was a Florentine active in the second half of the 19th century, who had a particular affinity for genre sculpture. More Professore Rossi

Ruth was a Moabite woman had come to Israel as the widow of an Israelite man. She had returned with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who had also lost her husband. They lived together in a humble situation, and Ruth would go to the fields each day to glean food in the fields during the harvest.

Boaz was a landowner where Ruth came to find grain. He knew of her situation and told his workers to leave plenty of grain for her to find. Boaz also offered her food with the other workers and encouraged her to work in the safety of his fields throughout the harvest.

Naomi noted that Boaz was a close relative who, according to Jewish law, had the right to marry Ruth after the death of her husband. Naomi encouraged Ruth to go to Boaz in the evening and present herself willing to accept a marriage proposal from him. When she did, he was pleased, yet noted that there was one relative who was closer in line to marry Ruth.

The next day, Boaz met with this relative and presented the situation. The relative turned down the offer as he felt it would cause harm to his own family situation. Boaz then made a commitment in front of the town’s leaders that he would take Ruth as his wife. More about Ruth 

Saint George

Carved, gilded and polychromed wooden sculpture.  Germany.  Gothic.  Circa 1500. 

76 x 35 x 17 cm.

Private collection

Depicted, as as a warrior wearing medieval armor, standing, holding a shield with the red cross.  At his feet is the dragon that he has slain.  This is a magnificent example of German late Gothic sculpture.  It could be attributed to a well-known workshop or master due to the fineness of the carving, which can be seen in the face, the hand and the rich clothing.  The original gilding and polychrome are preserved. More on this sculpture

Saint George (circa 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was a soldier in the Roman army who later became venerated as a Christian martyr. His parents were Christians of Greek background; his father Gerontius was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother Polychronia was from Lydda, Syria Palaestina. Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith.

In the fully developed Western version of the Saint George Legend, a dragon, or crocodile, makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in Palistine, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity. More on Saint George 


German Gothic Sculpture: The persistence of late Romanesque art of considerable renown delayed the full adoption of Gothic art in the Germanic regions of the Holy Roman Empire. At first, penetration by the new plastic values of the Gothic style came up against a strong local tradition which drew on Byzantine art in the fields of wall painting and illumination. In only a few exceptional cases were facades receptive to the great sculptured programs, although impressive decorative schemes of Christian art were employed inside churches, especially on choir screens. Wood carving of statuary, too, quickly adopted the innovations of the Gothic style. More on German Gothic Sculpture

Acknowledgement: La Suite Subastas, and others

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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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