Virgin of Quito
- unknown artist
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.
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