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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Gothic Statue of Christ as 'Man of Sorrows'

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LOT 0440

GBP (£) 30,000 - 40,000
EUR (€) 34,880 - 46,500
USD ($) 42,080 - 56,100

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£27,000 (EUR 31,388; USD 37,870) (+bp*)

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Gothic Statue of Christ as 'Man of Sorrows'

Late 15th century AD

A powerful three-quarter life-size oak statue of Christ depicted as 'Man of Sorrows', the nearly life-sized Jesus seated on a rock awaiting his immediate crucifixion, the head turned slightly to the left with crown of thorns on his head, suffering expression on his gaunt face, linen cloth covering his hips, hands and legs tied with a heavy rope; detailed carving of the hair and face, muscles with visible veins; traces of polychrome paint. 38 kg, 118cm (46 1/2"). Fine condition. Rare.

From the private collection of an Oxfordshire, UK, gentleman; acquired from a wealthy Norfolk gentleman circa 2005; previously in an old family collection; accompanied by an archaeological report by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10608-174160.

Cf. a similar medieval wooden carved statue in the National Museum of Scotland, from South Netherlands, A.1971.54; a very similar stone sculpture in the Rouen cathedral in the Saint Joseph Chapel, 15th century AD; see Koechlin, R., & de Vasselot, M., La Sculpture à Troyes et dans la Champagne méridionale au 16me siècle, Paris, 1900; Quarré, P., Le Christ de Pitié en Brabant-Bourgogne autour de 1500 (exhibition catalogue), Dijon, 1971.

The ‘Man of Sorrows’ is one of the many representations of Christ in religious iconography, caught between his Passion and his Resurrection. The expression comes from a verse in the Book of Isaiah: ‘He is despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief....’. The word 'sorrows' is always in the plural: אִישׁ מַכְאֹבוֹת (ish makh 'ovot) in the Hebrew Bible and 'vir dolorum' in the Vulgate. In the 15th and 16th century, the image of Christ, awaiting his death seated on a rock of Golgotha, was one of the many forms of this genre. It represents the bound Christ, after having been mocked and scourged by the Roman soldiers, just before he was led away for Crucifixion. This sculpture was carved from oak, as is the example now in Scotland, and presents traces of polychrome under the original patina. These are mainly present in the crevices and pores of the carved wooden surface. This type of representation did not appear before the end of the 14th century, but it was particularly widespread in the 15th century - such as the stone Christ in the cathedral of Rouen.