FRENCH SCULPTOR FROM THE 18TH CENTURY
sculpted wood, cm 130×185
Mary, her dead son cradled in her lap, lifts her arms to the sky, addressing the Lord in her dismay. This sculpture, which was originally polychrome, owes its considerable dramatic quality also to the fact that it is life size, something that makes the representation even more credible and touching.
Even if the style of the work is typical of the late Seventeenth century, it can be dated to the Eighteenth century. The Deposition of the Cross by Nicolas Coustou, which is found in the Church of Notre Dame in Paris and is from 1723, may provide an indication both as to chronology and as to geographic origin.
In fact, the two works are closely related, specifically in the figure of the mother whose gestures are quite similar. In the work presented here Coustou’s sumptuous academicism is replaced by an impetuous, almost expressionistic interpretation on the part of our unknown author. This choice, also considering the realistic impact which the polychrome rendition must have conveyed, reminds of the theatricality of the Sacred Mountains, and may suggest a milieu not far from the Alps.