Lot 389
  • 389

A fine and large ivory corpus, second half 17th century, South German or Italian

50,000 - 70,000 USD
194,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood, ivory
with ivory skull and crossbones, repoussé silver starburst, on later green velvet covered wood backing.

Catalogue Note

Stylistically, the present sculpture recalls the very fine carving of the Augsburg Baroque sculptor Georg Petel (1601/2-1634).  While this corpus was probably made during the second half of the 17th century, the elegance of the design, the refined treatment of the numerous drapery folds and the facial type are reminiscent of Petel’s work.

In the present carving, the sculptor borrowed elements of Petel's designs and enhanced them. The proportions here are more fluid, the limbs and torso are slightly longer and the drapery is more dynamic, as is the beautifully undercut hair around Christ’s face. The addition of a rope around the proper right ankle of the figure is an uncommon detail on ivory corpora but appears on a very similar and large Flemish corpus sold at Sotheby's, London, April 3, 1984, lot 278.

Petel left Germany and became an itinerant craftsman. In 1620/21 he met Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp who was an important influence on him. Petel later travelled to Rome and then Genoa where many artists from the north settled.

The representation of the 'living' Christ was important for the ideology of the Counter-Reformation during the 17th century, as it signified the desire for everlasting life and the belief in the Resurrection.

A. Schädler, Georg Petel 1601/2-1634, Berlin 1973, nos. 1-3, 37 and 38, cat. nos. 2, 11, 12
F. Negro Arnoldi, 'Origine e diffusione del Crocefisso barocco con l'imagine del Cristo vivente', in Storia dell'Arte, 20, 1974