Putto standing on a globe with a serpent (Christ Child)

ca. 1650 (made)


Height: 22.9 cm ivory alone

A.54-1949 SCP

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

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.

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.

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

Location: In Storage

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