A 19thC Italian Life-Size Painted Plaster Bust of Jesus Christ

Origin: Italian
Period: Late 19thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890
Height: 23”
Width: 12”
Depth: 15” (all at extremities)

Dating from the nineteenth century, the large and well cast and modelled wash painted plaster bust of Jesus Christ, or Ecce Homo, with Christ in black looking downward, the whole mounted on a gilt painted socle base and surviving from an Italian ecclesiastical setting.

Although with obvious time-worn wear to the painted decoration, the piece has survived intact and overall it remains a hugely attractive piece in its entirety with a pleasing weight. There are two holes to the top shoulder.

This type of art had the immediacy and drama then that movies have today for modern audiences with the most humble of peasants being able to relate to what they saw, namely birth, suffering and death to their own life in their village.

Ecce Homo, ‘Behold the Man’, shows Jesus stripped and brought before the people by the members of the Roman council, who are flanked by soldiers. The people mock and jeer Jesus, who wears a Crown of Thorns. His hands are bound with shackles, while the redness of the now raw flesh on his legs, hands and chest attests to the fact that he has been beaten with a scourge. As Jesus is shown here looking down it is probably when looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

A bust of good size, weight and quality and undoubtable decorative punch.