**Originally Listed At $500**
Latin America, Mexico, ca. 19th century CE. A skillfully carved and painted wooden santo depicting "La Purisima Concepcion" or "La Inmaculada," this iconography symbolizing the purity of Mary. The composition consists of the Virgin standing upon a globe which may signify a new moon with the crescent moon emerging from the orb. This example also features a winged angel head or seraphim upon the orb. The iconography stems from Saint John's vision of the Apocalyptic Woman, a woman clothed by the sun (perhaps suggested here by the additional yellow wrap over her robes), with the moon under her feet. A crown of twelve stars may have once adorned her head. Size: 5" W x 11.125" H (12.7 cm x 28.3 cm)
It is possible that this rendering is modeled upon the 17th or 18th century images of La Purisima as Mary suspended from the realm of this world, surrounded by cherubs and symbols of the rosary. In the large oil painting by Francisco Antonio Vallejo, Mater Inmaculada, painted in Mexico in 1714, for example, Mary is the Apocalyptic Woman accompanied by various attributes held by angels.
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 Moore collection, Denver, Colorado, acquired thirty years ago
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