The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Thursday, September 22, 2011

18th Century "Grablegung Christi" carved wooden skulpture: The Entombment

eBay Austria holds another gem this morning. I must admit, another of my favorite iconographic images is that of Christ on the Cross. I have one early 19th century carved wooden and gessoed example hanging on my walls but nothing older than the early 1800's. My example arrived with a detached arm, so I made the necessary restoration myself. A little wood glue, some of my canvas gessoe to fill the crack, and a little watercolor to match the original, and voila.... you can't tell it was ever off the figure. I have followed numerous auctions online, including eBay, and the carved and crafted wooden sculptures of the semi-nude Christ figure seem to demand some fairly expensive prices. From the looks of it, there appears to be a ready market out there for decommissioned wooden sculptures of a semi-nude Christ. Go figure. Although, if you think about it, it figures the really good ones fall into the category of "folk art." That iconographic image has given countless artists over the centuries a good reason to explore the male figure in every medium possible. I have seen a multitude of wooden carved "Christ on the Cross" depictions but this is the first time I have seen a sculpture of "The Entombment." This sculpture, to my eye, is unique in that it goes beyond the usual depiction of a figure stretched out on a cross with arms flayed and legs crossed. The mood of this fine sculpture has gone beyond the ordinary into the realm of lifelike depiction. It exudes vulnerability and compassion. The central body appears to be carved from a single piece of wood, probably fruit wood or lime wood. It is a shame the craftsman did not sign the work.

* 9-23-2011: Addendum ... I just could not pass up this opportunity. This is such an unique find. I have been buying on eBay since 1998 and I have never seen a similar object. The seller and I have agreed upon a price and I have bought this wondeful 18th century Church sculpture of the Entombment of Christ. It should be on its way to me shortly. I will have it cleaned and polished and then put it on display somewhere around here if I can find an empty space on the wall.

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