Friday, June 19, 2015

RELIGIOUS ART - 16th Century Carvings from the Bible! - Saint Marguerite the Virgin.

Saint Marguerite the VirginAccording to the version of the story in Golden Legend, she was a native of Antioch, and she was the daughter of a pagan priest named Aedesius. Her mother having died soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a pious woman five or six leagues from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father, adopted by her nurse and lived in the country keeping sheep with her foster mother (in what is now Turkey). Olybrius, Governor of the Roman Diocese of the East, asked to marry her but with the price of her renunciation of Christianity. Upon her refusal she was cruelly tortured, during which various miraculous incidents occurred. One of these involved being swallowed by Satan in the shape of a dragon, from which she escaped alive when the cross she carried irritated the dragon's innards. She was put to death in A.D. 304

Saint Marguerite carved in alabaster, rondebosse, with remnants of gilding highlights. Standing on top of the dragon, hands clasped, she tilts her head, looking towards the monster, it is holding in his mouth a piece of her dress; hair treated as a helmet forming along the forehead small tight curls escaping rearward in a cluster of compact wavy locks; with refined clothing & a detail coat retained on the chest by a delicate node; the monster, with tense muscles, raising its hindquarters with imposing claws. The group stands on a high molded base which  occupies the entire terrace and has a cartridge shield that bears traces of arms. 

Champagne, Troyes, attributed to Jacques Juliot the Ainé, from 1540 to 1550 54 H × W 34.4 × D 15.6 cm 

Sainte Marguerite is one of the most popular saints in Champagne and has been in the sixteenth century a special devotion in this region. Many examples are still preserved; to name a few, we think especially among the finest in St. Margaret Church of Bouilly, that of the Hôtel-Dieu de Troyes, the church Arrelles near Chaource or that of the Church of the Assumption in Montmorency-Beaufort, all according to the same iconography, standing on the monster, "belly of the dragon." This piece is of high quality, and was obviously for private devotion. The bill reflects a very personal chisel picked by the character of the composition, the next "hot" and hectic of the hair, the strength that emanates from the monster - which holds an essential place in the group - and the style openly Italianate underbody with its cartridge-shaped shield. A workshop of sculptors, located in Troyes, left works of the same style that establish a reconciliation. This is the workshop of Juliot whose emblematic work is the alabaster altarpiece of the former Abbey Larrivour not far from Troyes attested by the hand of Jacques Juliot the Aisné whose panels are now dispersed among the Church of St. Nicolas de Troyes, the museum Vauluisant and Metropolitam Museum in New York.