An Interesting Spanish Colonial Dramatically Carved Hardwood Corpus Christi
With a moveable and protruding tongue set within minute ivory teeth. Perhaps from Quito, Ecuador
Traces of original polychrome, gesso and gilding
Size: 41cm high, 10cm wide, 8cm deep – 16 ins high, 4 ins wide, 3 ins deep
Provenance: Ex Private Southern French collection
This highly expressive probably Jesuit inspired image of Christ exudes the physical torment of the crucifixion. From the earliest times of colonisation the Spanish missionaries in South America promoted ceremonial customs that were brought from Seville where the passion of Christ was the most important of the processional representations of Holy Week. Dramatic sermons and evocative images were used to stir compassion in the hearts of the faithful who would pray before these images in their private chapels. Such prayers needed visual reinforcement in order to achieve the appropriate spiritual frame of mind, as was suggested by the Jesuit evangelist Ignatius of Loyol who preferred the characteristics of emotion and turbulence to meekness and charity in the depiction of Christ’s passion.