An Early 19thC Pair of Carved Pine & Painted Gesso Mannequin Feet

Origin: French or Italian
Period: Early 19thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1800-30
Height: 6”
Width: 2.5”
Depth: 7” (each)

The incredibly decorative pair of carved pine mannequin or Santos feet, showing much of their original painted gessoed decoration, now wonderfully time worn, and early for their type, surviving from the early part of the nineteenth century and most likely of French or Italian origin.

The condition of the feet is good and stable with no attempts to try to re-paint or gesso.

Mannequins were usually quite ephemeral and the focus wasn’t on them being made to last though with these being carved in pine rather than plaster for instance suggests they may have been part of a more important composition.

The articulated human figure made of wax or wood has been a common tool in artistic practice since the 16th century. Its mobile limbs enable the artist to study anatomical proportion, fix a pose at will, and perfect the depiction of drapery and clothing. Over the course of the 19th century, the mannequin gradually emerged from the studio to become the artist's subject, at first humorously, then in more complicated ways, playing on the unnerving psychological presence of a figure that was realistic, yet unreal--lifelike, yet lifeless.

Absolutely glorious.