AN ITALIAN WOOD SAINT BARTHOLOMEW 17TH – 18TH CENTURY |
300,000 - 400,000 HKD
bidding is closed
- 52 cm, 20 1/2 in.
powerfully carved in the form of Saint Bartholomew with the left elbow bent and grasping in his hand a billowing strip of his own skin wrapping around his body and suspending a bearded mask by his left hip, the martyr rendered stripped bare with his pronounced collar bones, ribs and muscles portrayed in minute detail, stands
In this sculpture, Saint Bartholomew is depicted holding his own face and skin. This manner of depicting the Saint was first introduced in the European Middle Ages, and gained popularity from the 13th century onwards. Saint Bartholomew was believed to have been skinned alive and then beheaded, and thus became a Christian Martyr. Because of the manner of his death, Saint Bartholomew also became the patron saint of tanners and leatherworkers. It is likely that the missing right hand of this sculpture would have held a knife, which is another of Saint Bartholomew's usual attributes. The present sculpture also calls to mind the écorché figures which gained currency during the 18th century, such as the famous Flayed Man by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1767) and the Spellati which decorate the Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio in Bologna, carved by Ercole Lelli (1733-1736).