Apostle in the garden of olives, Lombardy, first half of the 16th century

Linden wood sculpture


Sculpture of the Holy Apostle, probably Peter asleep in the Garden of Olives. The figure is depicted sitting with the right leg crossed over the other and the bearded chin resting on the hand holding the face with closed eyes. The face, arms and feet are lacquered, the mantle gilded in mecca. In carved pine wood.

Dimensions: 51,5 x 26 x 18,5 cm ( 20,3 x 10,2 x 7,3 in )


Historical-stylistic analysis:

The sculpture, in a good state of conservation, on the other hand has falls on the lacquering and gilding which are also heavily coated with patina accumulated over time. The finished figure on the back was undoubtedly part of a sacred composition depicting the scene of Jesus in the garden of olives.

This is the passage in which Jesus sets off with some apostles to pray before being captured to be crucified, “And, taking Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him, he began to feel sadness and anguish. And he said to them: «My soul is sad until death; stay here and watch with me ». He went a little further, fell face down and prayed, saying: «My Father, if it is possible, pass this cup away from me! But not as I want, but as you want! ». Then he came to the disciples and found them asleep. ” (Mt 26, 37-40). From the iconography of the face it could be Peter asleep.

The method of carving, especially of the face, refers to Lombard sculpture of the sixteenth century, indebted to the influence of Pietro Bussolo (c. 1460 – 1526). Among his interesting works is the comparison with the figures of the polyptych preserved in Albino in the church of San Bartolomeo, in the ancon the statue at the bottom right is the one that comes closest to ours. Clearly we are talking about the influence that had an impact on the work of a minor sculptor, but which allows us to identify the environment and the time of origin.

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