Rare torso of this Holy Man who lived approximately 70 years as a hermit in the desert of Upper-Egypt and passed away around 400 AD. His name (Greek ‘Onoufrios’, Onofrius, Onofre – later Humphrey) is derived from ancient Egyptian ‘wnn nfr’ meaning ‘He who always does well’. He is always represented naked, dressed in his long hair and beard only and sometimes wearing a skirt made from leaves. Hence he has become patron of the weavers. His diet consisted of dates mainly.
The sculpture in hard wood (walnut?) is strong and well executed. He is standing straight, the (now missing) arms probably along his torso (although he may have been holding a staff). Lower limbs are also missing. The remains of the upper part of his left leg is pointing forwards, which might imply that it was bent and resting upon an object. He emanates determination and spiritual strength. The beauty and elegance of this rare sculpture lies in the virtuosity of the never ending ondulations of the hair and the beard. The detailed waving hair, intricately chiselled on the back of the Saint has an almost fluid character. This indicates that the statue stood freely in a church or monastery so that the praying mortals could walk around it for devotional purposes.
This delightful Saint was more popular in Greek Byzantine religion than in Roman Catholic iconography. Yet there are very famous representations of him: the ‘Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Onofrio tryptic’ by the Master of Beffi from the 15th century in the Museo Civico Palazzo Annunziata (Sulmona) and in the Byzantine mosaics of Monreale in Sicily.
Our sculpture comes from the collection of the Palazzo of Marquis Telentini Troiani of Maruggio, (Già collezione Marchesi Telentini Troiani di Maruggio) which is located in the central Piazza of the village of Nardo in Salento (Lecce). It has been acquired by Seghers & Pang Fine Arts and is accompanied by its Italian Export License.
Losses, wear and overall traces of woodworm. The wood has been submitted to a professional conservation treatment against further decay.
Dimensions: 83 x 35 x 20. On a recent travertine stand.
Delevery information :
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