New World, Mexico, Spanish Colonial style, ca. early to mid 19th century CE. A nice, old example of a santo, a hand-carved wooden devotional figure that is part of the Mexican folk art tradition. This particular santo depicts Christ, standing, with both hands raised for blessing. He has a three-pointed hammered tin halo and worshippers have placed two rosaries around his neck. The figure is dark with age, his painted surface deepening to a rich, woody color. Size: 5" L x 8.5" W x 22.75" H (12.7 cm x 21.6 cm x 57.8 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: ex private Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
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Craquelure and small areas of loss to the paint as shown. Losses to the fingers. Crown has slight bending and metal patina. Traces of wax to stabilize accessories. Some areas of overpainting. Rosaries are not contemporary to the carving. The figure is missing several fingers.