New World, Spanish Colonial style, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A striking wooden representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe, standing on a large platform. She stands with her arms raised, wearing a beautiful dress decorated in flowers with a sky blue robe trimmed with gold. Her face is calm, with glass eyes that seem to stare directly at the viewer and nice paint that gives her a lively appearance. She wears a tall golden crown, and probably once had flowing hair. The Virgin of Guadalupe is one of the most important Catholic symbols in Mexico, based on a tradition that dates to the time of the Spanish Conquest. Size: 5.65" W x 17.5" H (14.4 cm x 44.4 cm)
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. They became a folk art tradition in the Spanish New World, from modern day Guatemala to as far north as New Mexico and Colorado. 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.
Provenance: private California, USA collection
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Some losses to the figure, mainly to the hands. Nice craquelure of pigment, especially on the robe. Figure probably once had a wig that is now lost.