New World, Spanish Colonial, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A beautifully-carved wood santo in browns, creams, and golds, depicting the Virgin Mary with her head upturned and her arms outstretched. She has long, flowing brown hair, a well-carved gown and cloak, and a repousse silver crown. Her face is sweetly painted, with a calm expression. She stands atop a cloud with the heads of cherubs emerging from it. Size: 5.75" L x 7.25" W x 23" H (14.6 cm x 18.4 cm x 58.4 cm)
The subject of Madonna in Glory is one that has been popular since the Middle Ages. It presents a scene of the adoration of Mary in heaven, attended by angels (and in some other depictions, also attended by saints). The colors of the scene are golden and cream, meant to create a heavenly light. A worshipper has placed 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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