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Statuette - Putto standing on a globe with a serpent (Christ Child)
  • Putto standing on a globe with a serpent (Christ Child)
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Putto standing on a globe with a serpent (Christ Child)

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory on a wooden base

  • Museum number:

    A.54-1949

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This ivory statuette representing Child Christ with a serpent, is made in the Netherlands in ca. 1650.
Ivory was popular as a material for religious subjects, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries. Spanish and Portuguese patrons imported ivories carved with Christian imagery from their territories overseas, such as the Philippines, Mexico and Goa. German and Netherlandish artists were renowned for their dexterity in ivory carving. Their reliefs are masterpieces of composition and virtuosity.
This is one of several figures of the Christ Child that which were probably carved by South Netherlandish sculptors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, almost certainly for devotional purposes. It is still somewhat Italianate in quality, possibly suggesting that they were produced by South Netherlandish artists working in Italy.

Physical description

The semi-nude Child Christ, stands with his right arm upraised, probably once holding a staff or banner, or possibly a cross, wearing slight drapery held by a strap to his right arm. He looks upwards, his mouth half-open. He rests his right foot on a globe and crushes a serpent with his left. The backs of the legs and buttocks are only summarily carved, suggesting this figure was meant to be viewed frontally, and perhaps also indicating it is derived from a two-dimensional source, such as an engraving.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)

Date

ca. 1650 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Ivory on a wooden base

Dimensions

Height: 22.9 cm ivory alone

Object history note

Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A., formerly on loan from Dr Hildburgh.

Descriptive line

Statuette, ivory and wood base, Christ Child, by an unknown artist, Netherlandish, ca. 1650

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Trusted, M. "Ivory Images of Mortality in the Netherlands of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries", in: Auwera, Joost vander (ed.), Liber Amicorum Raphaël de Smedt, Louvain, 2001, pp. 370-5, and fig. 6 on p. 372
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 106, p. 132

Materials

Ivory; Wood

Subjects depicted

Serpent; Globe

Categories

Christianity; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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