Origin : Italy
Period : Late 15th - early 16th century
Height : 50 cm
Length : 42 cm
Depth : 15 cm
Traces of polychromy and gilt
The monk is depicted with an oval face, marked with high and strong cheekbones, sunken cheeks, strong jawbones and a cleft chin. His almond shaped eyes are opened under very strong and well defined brow bones. The nose, once straight, has lost its bridge. His narrow mouth with thin lips is slightly open as if exhaling.
Above his ears appears his clerical crown, with wavy hair. It must have been once golden as testified by the traces seen today. His monastic robe is punctuated by vertical pleats while his hood presents horizontal deep folds. Considering his clothing the monk depicted might have been a Franciscan brother, the mendicant order founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1210.
On his chest, a small aedicula composed of two columns topped by a triangular pediment used to hold the relics to be worshipped by the believers.
The back is flat and not carved which demonstrates the reliquary-bust was destined to be seen frontally. It may have been placed against a wall, upon an altar. The bust is hollowed out.
This is the face a mature man, his tender cheeks soften an expression somewhat tragic, emphasized by the mouth opened and his vague gaze. The modelling accurately depicted, the refinement of the expression full of restraint suggest it is the work of an Italian master. Natural and sober, the interiorized expression of the monk and the softness of the hood’s pleats date this reliquary-bust in the late 15th or early 16th century.
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