Description & Technical information
This pair of Neapolitan angels are a superb example of Italian Baroque craftsmanship dating from around 1630 – 1640. Each subtly different in form and expression, with porcelain-like skin and golden curls, they gaze to their heavenly father. Their flowing locks and gold and red patterned tunics caught by the wind, they each hold a large cornucopia-shaped candlestick. In exceptional condition with original polychrome, gilding and bases, significantly, all four wings remain intact with original separate hinges distinguishing these objects from similar examples with replaced or lost wings.
Typical of high quality early Neapolitan work in terms of carving and colouring, a case can be advanced to support an attribution to Aniello Stellato who was responsible for the large statute of the Guardian Angel found in the Church of Gesù Nuovo in Naples. Although more composed and classical in style compared to the baroque exuberance of our pair of angels, that statute is readily classifiable as the same type of object. Despite damage by fire in the 1960s, the colours of the Stellato statute are of the finest quality and similar to that of these angels. They are strikingly similar also to a pair of angels with candelabra in the shape of a horn of plenty (now lost) housed in Santa Chiara in Naples, their strong resemblance giving rise to the possibility of their being complementary objects.
Date: 1630 – 1640
Period: 1600-1750, 17th century
Origin: Italy, Naples
Medium: Poplar, Original polychrome, Gilding
Dimensions: 49 cm (19¹/₄ inches)
Provenance: Private collection, Italy
Literature: R. Casciaro and A. Cassiano (eds.), ‘Sculture in legno di primo Seicento in Terra d’Otranto, tra produzione locale e importazioni da Napoli’ in Sculture di età barocca tra Terra d’Otranto, Napoli e la Spagna, exhibition catalogue (Lecce, Church of San Francesco della Scarpa, 16 December 2007 – 28 May 2008) (De Luca, Rome, 2007), pp. 19-47
P. Leone de Castris, ‘Nomi e date per la scultura in legno di primo Seicento fra Napoli e le province: dai busti di Gesù a quelli di Tricarico’ in L. Gaeta (ed.), Scultura meridionale in età moderna nei suoi rapporti con la circolazione mediterranea, international symposium (Lecce, 9 – 11 June 2004) (Congedo, Galatina, 2007), Vol. II, pp. 6-36
P. Staffiero, ‘Modelli di decorazione a ‘estofado’ nella scultura lignea napoletana tra Cinquecentro e Seicento’ in R. Casciaro (ed.), La statua e la sua pelle. Artifici tecnici nella scultura dipinta tra Rinascimento e Barocco, international symposium (Lecce, 25 – 26 May 2007) (Congedo, Galatina, 2007), pp. 153-176
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