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Home > Auctions > 6th September 2022 > Medieval Italian Terracotta Head of St. Anne

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LOT 0428

GBP (£) 2,000 - 3,000
EUR (€) 2,360 - 3,540
USD ($) 2,430 - 3,640

Bid History: 13   |   Current bid: £1,600 (+bp*)

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Bid History: 13   |   Current bid: £1,600

A terracotta head, likely representing Saint Anne, modelled as an older woman wearing a wimple which covers her head and neck; executed with a semi-naturalistic, oval-shaped face, cleft chin, heavy-lidded eyes and slender, painted brows; traces of original polychrome pigmentation, particularly to the headdress with its light blue exterior and red-crimson interior lining, yellow or gold pigmentation to the undulating veil hem; hollow reverse. 6 1/8 in. (1.15 kg, 15.6 cm high). [No Reserve]

Collection Altounian-Rousset (1890-1954).
Artcurial, 18 September 2019, lot 123.
Ex central London gallery.
Accompanied by a copy of a previous typed and illustrated catalogue page.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11421-192193.

Cf. Sheingorn, P., The Wise Mother: The Image of St. Anne Teaching the Virgin Mary, Gesta, vol.32, no.1, 1993, pp.69-80.

The identity of this figure has been linked to Saint Anne owing to a reference in a receipt book belonging to a former owner of the head. The book notes that in 1921, the owner at that time acquired 'Tete sainte Anne, terre cuite XVe siecle'.

Saint Anne was an important figure during the Middle Ages. The Gospel of James, written c.150 A.D., narrates the life of the Virgin Mary. The story tells of the Virgin Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, who were not able to have children. One day, Anne received a visitation from an angel who informs her that she will be able to have a child. Anne promises God that she will dedicate the baby's life to the service of God.

The majority of the surviving iconography of Saint Anne from the later medieval period depicts Anne as an older woman wearing a wimple; for example, in a 15th century Book of Hours of Sarum Use; in a 15th century panel painting by the Italian painter Ambrosius Benson, and an early 16th century South Netherlandish sculpture.