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 Headless cherub OM fragment
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Job
Junior Member

United Kingdom
71 Posts

Posted - Jun 08 2017 :  16:38:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A headless older cherub, or putto rather, and that incompleteness is a bit of a shame.

I bought this at a minor auction many years ago, and it's now propped up on a shelf where I can see and enjoy it every day in spite of its obvious limitations. There's still real quality there, and I love it regardless, which is why I've never actually even tried to do anything with it. I've always supposed there was probably supposed to be another putto holding another mirror the other way round, with what I have being 1/6 of the whole.

But I really would appreciate any insight or clarification re what it is. I'm a little loath to say what I've thought it might be, in case I'm very badly misreading it, but I will anyway. I've loosely presumed it to be Netherlandish and maybe something from the circle of Goltzius (even though that's a more Italianate looking mirror), but that's not coming from any sort of definitive position or real specialist knowledge.

For the record, it's a lovely thick piece of both sawn and adze worked bevelled oak, an intact individual panel that is just missing it's neighbours. It measures 50 x 31.5 cm. The left side has a chiselled indent along the back to facilitate it's fitting into the slot rebate of some frame, and that is the side which has 2 chiselled places for nail attachment as well. That is obviously the only original perimeter. There's no paint along that left edge either, where it's been so inserted into a rebate, and the raised (slightly ruched) edge of the paint there would indicate that it was painted in situ in its holder or frame. What does slightly surprise me, though, is that it's not clear to me how the panels were otherwise well enough attached to each other, but there is some small edge extrusion of paint in places that indicates that the gap between panels must have been minuscule when it was made.

There's nothing I recognise as looking like a panel makers' mark, but I'm assuming there would only have been one for the whole thing. There is an odd dark area to top left, though, which looks as if it might be ink and isn't entirely formless. And there's a small round lump of something black with a light bar across it nearer the lower edge.

Any input or advice would be much appreciated...Arb?.



ATTACHMENTS:
Very Early fragment. Sm copy.JPG
Very Early fragment, back. Sm copy.JPG
Very Early fragment, detail. Sm copy.JPG

Edited by - Job on Jun 09 2017 17:59:46

eytan
Average Member

Israel
475 Posts

Posted - Jun 19 2017 :  15:58:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am very curious to hear the opinion of arb about the fingers on the right hand of this cherub.


Eytan
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Job
Junior Member

United Kingdom
71 Posts

Posted - Jun 20 2017 :  12:04:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Am slightly bemused by that comment about the fingers. Is that because you just think they look odd, Eytan, or because of the symbology of gestures or because they look slightly phallic?

But I'm still really hoping that Arb might yet be able shed some clarifying light on the origin of the panel. But it's only a hope.
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YAHOO
Junior Member

Italy
50 Posts

Posted - Jun 20 2017 :  16:52:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Like Leonardo Da Vinci but i'm not expert.Like a study for ''The Incarnate Angel''.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_life_of_Leonardo_da_Vinci#/media/File:Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Angelo_Incarnato.jpg
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YAHOO
Junior Member

Italy
50 Posts

Posted - Jun 20 2017 :  17:05:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
and about the fingers from works of Raphael and Leonardo Da Vinci

http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/36534/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10356401/Leonardo-da-Vinci-painting-lost-for-centuries-found-in-Swiss-bank-vault.html
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eytan
Average Member

Israel
475 Posts

Posted - Jun 21 2017 :  13:53:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hands are notoriously difficult to paint, and this hand of the cherub looks somehow wrong to me. As if not on par with the quality of the rest of the painting.

Arb has strong opinions on such topics.



Eytan
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Job
Junior Member

United Kingdom
71 Posts

Posted - Jun 21 2017 :  18:10:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was vaguely suspecting you thought they looked wrong in some way, Eytan, although I wasn't sure what you suspected that "wrongness" to be significant of. I'm still slightly wondering about that, because while this might be a fragment, it's anything but a poor quality fragment. When you mentioned the fingers, though, they did look rather more peculiar to me in that photo than ever they have in real life. The structure is no different, obviously, but they're not quite as highlighted in real life and don't look as odd. And more particularly, they don't look inappropriate.

Of course hands (and feet) are always significant detail to look at particularly, and they're also the obvious areas to point to as demonstrative of a quality issue when not necessarily recognised otherwise. I haven't seen an example, but it's not at all surprising that someone (Arb, in this case) might indeed have decisive views about a lack of basic quality based on ineffectually drawn hands. I haven't been posting here long but I can well imagine many an occasion when it's had to be pointed out (and possibly with some frustration) that some work just couldn't possibly be by a particular good artist because no good artist would ever have drawn hands that badly.

Issues around the appropriateness of detail, is rather different. And I must admit that I hadn't ever considered the similarity of those fingers to the likes of the after Raphael engraving linked to above by YAHOO. I've looked at more now too, and there is a similarity although I'm really not presuming I have a lost Leonardo (lol). The two finger thing is about benediction, generally, I think, but I'm no old master specialist and the language of the detail escapes me. It now occurs to me that there might be significance to the gesture in relation to the reflection, and that this panel might really be Italian rather than the Netherlandish I'd been presuming for some reason.

But I'm still just hoping that Arb can point me in the right direction at least.
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