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Relief - Christ as the Man of Sorrows

Christ as the Man of Sorrows

  • Object:

    Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (or probably Brussels, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory in tortoiseshell and wood frame on velvet backing

  • Museum number:

    A.23-1977

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A Flemish (Brussels) origin has been suggested at the time of acquisition, although nothing is known about ivory carving in Flanders around 1600, and there are no related pieces in ivory. One reason for doubting the authenticity of the present piece is the way it has been made. The thinness of the ivory in the upper part of the relief is unusual in ivory carving of the early 17th century. The notably sour expression of the angels' faces is without any contemporary parallels. This and other curiosities suggest that they come from a different source than that of the figure of Christ. This figure is based on a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer (Dürers Verwandlung in der Skulptur zwischen Renaissance und Barock, exh. cat., Frankfurt am Main, 1982, p. 86).
In sum the relief is most likely to be of 19th century origin, made in the Netherlands or perhaps made in Brussels, although it is in the style of an earlier period.

Physical description

The relief is carved from two pieces of ivory, showing the seated Christ with raised arms flanked by two standing angels holding up a cloth between Him and the column. The instruments of the Passion lie on the plinth: below Christ, a bullrush stem, and below the angels a crossed flail and scourge.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (or probably Brussels, made)

Date

ca. 1850 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Ivory in tortoiseshell and wood frame on velvet backing

Dimensions

Height: 28.9 cm ivory alone, Width: 20.8 cm ivory alone, Height: 41.2 cm whole, Width: 33 cm whole

Object history note

Bought from the Loewi-Robertson, Inc, Los Angeles, California, for £5,500 (Central Fund), in 1977.

Historical significance: A Flemish (Brussels) origin has been suggested at the time of acquisition, although nothing is known about ivory carving in Flanders around 1600, and there are no related pieces in ivory. One reason for doubting the authenticity of the present piece is the way it has been made. The thinness of the ivory in the upper part of the relief is unusual in ivory carving of the early 17th century. The notably sour expression of the angels' faces is without any contemporary parallels. Their wings are carved in a schematic manner, despite their unusual form. The elongated bodies and their fragile, unmotivated stance on the plinth, along with the curious manner in which they are holding up the cloth all suggest that they come from a different source than that of the figure of Christ. This figure is based on a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer (Dürers Verwandlung in der Skulptur zwischen Renaissance und Barock, exh. cat., Frankfurt am Main, 1982, p. 86). In addition the perspective is ambiguous, and the placement of the instruments of the instruments of the passion, particularly that of the column is unusual at this early date. In sum the relief is most likely to be of 19th century origin, perhaps made in Brussels, although it is in the style of an earlier period.

Descriptive line

Relief, ivory, Christ as the Man of Sorrows with two angels, South Netherlandish (perhaps Brussels), most likely 19th century, in the style of 16th century

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

Dürers Verwandlung in der Skulptur zwischen Renaissance und Barock, exh. cat., Frankfurt am Main, 1982, p. 86
pp. 448, 449
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, pp. 448, 449, cat. no. 492

Production Note

perhaps 19th century in the style of 16th century

Materials

Ivory

Subjects depicted

Angels; Column; Instruments of the passion

Categories

Christianity; Reliefs; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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