New World, Spanish Colonial, Mexico, ca. 18th century CE. A wonderful painted wooden depiction of the Virgin Mary standing atop a cloud with angels beneath her feet, holding the Christ Child in one hand. Her robes are pale hues, with bright green, red, and blue details. She and Christ both have glass eyes; their depiction is Late Baroque in style, suggesting that this is an early santo. Size: 4.5" L x 5.625" W x 16.75" H (11.4 cm x 14.3 cm x 42.5 cm)
The subject of Madonna and Child in Glory is one that has been popular since the Middle Ages. It presents a scene of the adoration of Mary and the Infant Jesus in heaven, attended by angels (and in some other depictions, also attended by saints). Christ's right hand is raised in blessing and the colors of the scene are overall gold and cream, meant to create a heavenly light. A worshipper has placed a silver cross on a silver chain around her neck.
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-Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, NC
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