Virgin of Mercy
Carved Polychrome Wood Sculpture of the Virgin of Mercy
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The Virgin of Mercy is a reoccurring topic in Christian art that depicts the Virgin Mary sheltering the faithful under her outspread cloak. This image was extremely popular in Italy during the renaissance and was known as the “Madonna della Misericordia” (Madonna of Mercy). This representation is also found in other countries especially Catalonia and Latin America. In this statue, the Virgin is a tall, crowned, delicately sculpted figure with harmonious proportions. She holds baby Jesus on her lap and is surrounded by joyous angels on both sides and below by saints and devotees. Her garments were carved with detailed folds and pleating. The blue veil and her long flowing hair add grace and an exotic touch to the sculpture. The lines in the polychrome (paint) are the result of shrinkage over the years and speak to the originality of this statue. These lines do not diminish the beauty but add an aged quality that is impossible to find in a contemporary sculpture. The small inset glass eyes had to be the work of a master artist and help bring Mary’s face alive. The religious theme of this statue makes it highly desirable and very difficult to find. This European statue was made during the missionary period for export to Asia (1700 – 1900). The Virgin of Mercy is 15” (38cm) tall and 14” (36cm) wide.