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Wooden snake - Italy 17th century
Wooden snake - Italy 17th century - Curiosities Style Wooden snake - Italy 17th century - Wooden snake - Italy 17th century - Antiquités - Wooden snake - Italy 17th century
Ref : 108160
9 000 €
Period :
17th century
Provenance :
Italy
Medium :
Wood, polychromy, gold leaf gilding
Dimensions :
l. 19.69 inch X H. 12.6 inch X P. 25.59 inch
Curiosities  - Wooden snake - Italy 17th century 17th century - Wooden snake - Italy 17th century  - Wooden snake - Italy 17th century Antiquités - Wooden snake - Italy 17th century
Galerie Alexandre Piatti

Works of art, sculptures and furniture Haute Epoque


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Wooden snake - Italy 17th century

This object of curiosity representing a snake evolving on a rock, is quite one of a kind. The animal is made of wood, gilded with gold leaf and it rests on a wooden mound, imitation porphyry, the two are separable.
This sculpture was surely part of a set located in a church and it must have been surrounded by saints.
From a technical point of view, the work is extremely well executed, particularly the mouth which is made up of small sculpted teeth, or the sunken eyes which reveal the eyelids under a fold of skin. The animal's head is quite expressive, even slightly threatening.
Concerning the base, made in polychrome, it perhaps represents Mount Golgotha. This word comes from the ancient Greek which means “skull-summit”.
Saint Matthew also wrote in the Bible “Arriving at the place called Golgotha,
which means place of the skull” (27:33).
Located outside of Jerusalem, this place was used by the Romans to execute the condemned, this was notably the case of Jesus. A legend even said that Adam's body was buried under this mountain and that during the crucifixion of Jesus, his skull was found.
In our work, the artist incorporated a human skull, perhaps to support this religious theory. Around it, small leaves are sculpted which seem to grow between the blocks of rock.
From another point of view, this skull could take up the concept of vanity which was quite popular in the 17th century and which aimed to show the fragility of human life.
We can also compare it to the representation of the Brazen serpent. During the crossing of the desert by the Hebrews under the supervision of Moses, those who were exhausted by fatigue began to slander God and Moses were bitten by snakes and died. Moses prayed to the Lord to find a solution to combat this. God suggested that he raise a bronze serpent of bronze on his staff and each person attacked by a serpent will have no other solution than to look the bronze serpent in the eyes to heal. Although the snake is in the collective imagination a figure of evil, this has not always been the case and the brazen serpent is a good example with its role of healing snake in the Bible.

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