New World, Mexico, late 19th century CE. Four papier-mache high relief religious icons skillfully modeled and painted with bright, warm colors. Each one depicts the Virgin Mary in different ways in dark red arched frames that are a single component with the sculptures. Each has a wire on the back for suspension. Size of each: 12.5" W x 19.5" H (31.8 cm x 49.5 cm)
The first of these depicts Mary dressed in a dark pink robe, wrapped in a bright blue cloak, and holding the Christ Child, who wears a green cloak with a gold robe underneath. At her feet is an amphora with roses in it - probably a reference to one of the miracles of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who made roses bloom in the winter. She wears a spectacular gold crown and has two angels hovering beside her. The second shows a seated Mary holding Christ. She wears a deep blue cloak and a 12-starred gold crown, perhaps in reference to Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation, which describes, "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (12:1) whom scholars agree is Mary. Five angels surround her head; in her hand, and in the hand of Christ, are small beaded chains with crosses. The third again shows Mary and Christ, this time with two ornate and Eastern Orthodox-style crowns atop their heads. Twin angels surround them and a vase with flowers is at her feet. The fourth shows Mary alone. The iconography suggests that this is Mary in Glory, a theme that has been popular since the Middle Ages. It presents a scene of the adoration of Mary in heaven, attended by angels. She has a cream and gold-colored dress and a bright blue robe trimmed with gold, as well as a splendid, large gold halo. A nice collection of unique pieces of Marian veneration.
Provenance: Ex-private Albuquerque, NM collection
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