Virgin of Quito

Virgin of Quito

circa 1750
unknown artist
Copper-nickel alloy, paint and silver leaf on cedar wood.
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Pogzeba

Unknown artist, Virgin of Quito, about 1750. Copper-nickel alloy, paint, and silver leaf on cedar wood; 17½ × 9½ × 6½ in. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Pogzeba, 1974.265.

height: 17.5 in, 44.4500 cm; width: 9.5 in, 24.1300 cm; depth: 6.5 in, 16.5100 cm
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art
This object is currently on view

In the 1700s, Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was internationally known for its exquisitely-carved, small wooden sculptures that were exported to other areas of colonial Latin America and to Europe. The Ecuadorian sculptors devised a new estofado technique with gold designs applied over raised areas of gesso. Another leitmotif of the Quito style is the use of silver leaf underneath transparent paint, as can be seen on the blue mantle of the Virgin here.
     This beautiful example is characteristic of the delicate carving and elaborate painting produced in the studio of Bernardo Legarda. Although the figure’s delicate face is serene, the jutting mantle that encircles the figure and the upturned wings that echo the crescent moon at the base give a sense of movement to the sculpture. Statues of the Virgin of Quito were typically adorned with a hammered silver halo and wings.
--Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Ex-collection of Alexander Hirtz, Quito, Ecuador; acquired unknown date by Wolfgang Pogzeba [1936-1982], Denver, CO and Santa Fe, NM; inherited by John Pogzeba [1908-1983], Denver, CO and Santa Fe, NM; gifted 4 October 1974 by (Pogzeba Estate Gallery), Denver, CO to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.