Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Polychrome Portable Statues

I think these Religious statues are amazing...the carving and painting skills alone are humbling. The first I found was a Saint George the Dragon Slayer from the 15th century. I spent 100+ hours researching it and my appreciation for these statues grew ten fold, not only as religious works of art but for what they endured over history. A dissertation written by a University of Maryland student, Tanya Jung in 2006, prooved to be one of the most enlightening and educating reads of the year! Stunning...and thanks Tanya...I did learn a lot.

Another site that was phenomenal for researching these statues in their respective museums was the Web Gallery of European Art.

A brief and incomplete sampling of these Statues would tell you they were first first carved in the late 1200's and early 1300's as Portable Religious Southern Germany, Italy, and Portugal before they found footing throughout Europe. They were often carved from well seasoned Limewood, also called Bass wood. Then they were painted with chalk - a gesso, to provide a smooth base layer for the paint (natural dyes) and gold and silver leaf. If you have not read A Perfect Red by Amy Butler, you really should. But I digress, many of the statues went from the Arabic style of a beautiful angelic carving to a more European use of fear (take a gander at Tanya's dissertation)...that is to make mankind humble of, and be afraid of God and Hell. I know this is a blunt take and there is much more, but I'll leave it here when the Protestant schism began and these statues were burned by the wagon load.

No comments: