Description In northern Europe, a taste for luxurious objects combined with the needs of the Catholic Counter Reformation for objects for private devotion resulted in a great demand for ivory statuettes of the Virgin or Christ. The strain put on Christ in this unnatural position-tied to the column-draws attention to his physical body and exposes his vulnerability, expressed through the emphasis on his soft skin, which can be beautifully represented in ivory. The subtle carving resembles the work of the German sculptor and carver Georg Petel (1601?-ca.1634), who drew inspiration from both German Renaissance and Italian baroque art. In 1624 when Petel was in Antwerp, the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens commissioned from him several ivories after his own drawings.
Provenance Paris; Henry Walters, Baltimore, [date of acquisition unknown] by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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