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Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century
Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century - Religious Antiques Style Renaissance Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century - Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century - Renaissance Antiquités - Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century
Ref : 109938
22 000 €
Period :
<= 16th century
Provenance :
Medium :
Polychromed and gilded wood
Dimensions :
l. 17.13 inch X H. 53.54 inch X P. 11.81 inch
Religious Antiques  - Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century <= 16th century - Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century Renaissance - Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century
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Renaissance candelabrum and Crucifixion - Umbria 16th century

Base of a carved wooden candelabrum, polychrome and gilded; cross painted on both sides.
Umbria, 16th century
136 x 43,5 x 30 cm
(The cross and the base of the candelabrum were later assembled)

The base of the candelabrum is intricately carved and adorned with polychrome and gilded finishes. The shafts take on the shape of balusters reminiscent of ancient columns, feature ornate foliage decorations, garlands and winged cherub faces. The feet are crafted in the likeness of lion paws. The base is further embellished with depictions of four saint martyrs, among them Saint Barbara and Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The plasticity of the figures, outlined with strong contour lines, the clear and vibrant colors, are stylistic elements linked to the Umbrian tradition of the sixteenth century.The precisely defined and elegant drawing, along with the clear color palette applied with refined chiaroscuro modulations, became the signature of a style that would leave a lasting mark on the era to come. This is exemplified by a preference for vibrant, multicolored images, accentuated in this case by the use of red and pink in the saint's attire.
A notable addition, introduced later, is a polylobed cross painted on both sides. On one side, the Crucifixion is vividly portrayed:The treatment of the corpus itself is in line with High Medieval practice, emphasizing pathos by showing Jesus dead, his arms sagging from the weight of the body. The upper section displaying a pelican pecks at her breast to feed her young with her own blood; a symbol of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross whose body and blood similarly nourishes the celebrant during Mass.
The lower part depicts Golgotha. On the reverse side, the Resurrection is artistically presented in a Renaissance iconography, reminiscent of the renowned composition painted by Piero della Francesca, now housed in the Civic Museum of Sansepolcro. In terms of composition, with the frontal depiction of Christ holding the banner, this motif became particularly widespread in central Italy, spanning from Tuscany to Umbria throughout the 16th century..
The double-sided construction suggests that it may also have been carried in liturgical processions. In Umbria from the 14th century, the use of portable crosses painted on both sides had become a widespread practice, aimed at satisfying the monastic clientele that had significantly increased following the establishment of new religious communities.
The earliest surviving Tuscan painted crucifix represent Christ as Christus Triumphans, or the “Triumphant Christ” with his head up and eyes open. This form was supplanted in the 13th century with the Christus Patiens, or “Suffering Christ” type who is shown often with his head fallen on his shoulder and his eyes closed, as In our cross. The iconography of the suffering Christ appears to have developed out of a new interest in Christ’s human nature, the development of the feast of Corpus Christi and with increased importance given to the Eucharist. The process of humanizing the figure of Christ reaches its peak with the abandonment of all the previous expressive conventions in favor of more realistic details we can observe in this Crucifix, such as the swollen belly, the arms stretched to the limit of muscle tearing, the body falling heavily forward, the abundant blood on the wounds, and the cross firmly embedded in the rock of Calvary.
It's worth noting that Renaissance candelabra often underwent later modifications, as in this case the addition of the polylobed cross. This adjustment, while postdating the original creation, did not diminish the artistic value. Instead, they showcased the evolving tastes and preferences of subsequent generations, creating a dialogue between different periods ans tastes.

Large in proportion and richly carved, this candlestick base display great magnificence and artistic skills. The combination of purely decorative scroll-work and pictorial form is typical of 16th century Renaissance decoration.
As much as candelabra were used to sanctified Christian objects, they were also unmistakably associated with antiquity and pagan worship in the fifteenth and sixteenth century.
Candelabra both for illumination and burning incense, were widely used in antiquity and, like many Roman decorative objects, they came in extremely diverse forms. A walk down the Galleria dei Candelabri at the Vatican Museums gives a taste of this seemingly endless variety of marble candelabra composed of natural and artificial component parts.
In the fifteenth century, when candelabra became part of a larger lexicon of all ‘antica forms, they appear most commonly in sacred settings. Many of the earliest surviving examples, were produced by artists from Tuscany, and it is probably there that painters and sculptors first widely explored the potential of the classically inspired candelabrum.
This candelabra, adorned with antique classic forms, embody the spirit of the Renaissance, blending innovation with intricate designs inspired by ancient Roman aesthetics. The use of classic forms, including balusters, garlands, and acanthus leaves, reflected a conscious effort to evoke the grandeur of antiquity.
The Renaissance candelabrum adorned with antique classic forms is a testament to the period's fascination with the past and its commitment to artistic excellence. The seamless integration of classical aesthetics into functional objects like candelabra not only illuminated spaces but also illuminated the enduring appeal of ancient beauty.

Bibliographie :

H. BELTING, L’arte e il suo pubblico. Funzione e forme delle antiche immagini della passione, introduzione di G. Cusatelli, Bologna 1986

WALTER A. DYER, Furniture of the Italian Renaissance, Arts & Decoration (1910-1918), Vol. 7, No. 3 (JANUARY, 1917), pp. 131-134

Paul Davies and David Hemsoll,“Renaissance Balusters and the Antique,”Architectural History 26,1983

E. SANDERBERG VAVALÀ, La croce dipinta italiana, Verona 1929, II ed. Roma 1980,

Elvio Longhi, La passione degli umbri, Crocifissi di legno tra Medioevo e Rinascimento, 2021

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