An 18thC Italian Polychromed Earthenware Bust of Christ c.1750

Origin: Italian
Period: Mid-18thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1750
Height: 6.5”
Width: 4.5”
Depth: 4.25” (all at extremities)

Dating from the middle of the eighteenth century, the very well modelled and polychromed earthenware figure of Christ, or Ecce Homo, hand painted and with glass eyes, with Christ looking to the heavens, the whole mounted on a later wooden stand and surviving from an Italian ecclesiastical setting.

Although with obvious time-worn fissures and wear to the painted decoration, the piece has survived in the main and overall it remains a hugely attractive piece in its entirety. There is a restored fracture to the right flank with some fissures to the rear; please refer to the photographs for a full visual reference.

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.

This example is particularly appealing because of the glass eyes, giving it a real edge of realism and elsewhere it is very well executed overall. Usually this type of piece would be carved in wood so this is a little unusual being in earthenware.

A beautiful little piece made by a highly skilled artist.