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Saint Michael Archangel Spanish Sculptor


Spanish Sculptor active in circa 1500

Culture Spanish
Date ca. 1500
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique ivory

28 × 34 × 15 cm, 2 kg

Inventory number 62.2
Collection Sculpture
On view Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1250-1600, Gallery XII

This ivory statue of Saint Michael the Archangel was originally almost one meter height. At some point in time the part below the shoulders was sawn off and the right shoulder was turned around. The work was still intact in a photograph published in an auction catalogue in 1909, albeit the arm had already been replaced. The statue seems to have originally comprised several pieces of ivory: carved in a decorative manner, the clothing and the footpad were painted and gilded. On his right arm, the archangel had a spear, which he was also holding with his left hand. Saint Michael, who was especially popular in Spain, epitomised the leader of the heavenly armies in the battle against evil, the Devil and, ultimately, heresy. Despite the unique and special material, execution and working of the statuette, the facial expression is somewhat naïve and rigid. Ivory statues of this size are a great rarity, which suggests that it once stood in a special place. A similar work, albeit in the baroque style, is held at the State Hermitage Museum.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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