Early and Breath Taking 17" Neapolitan glass eyed Creche doll in exquisite embroidered costume. Made of a single piece of gracefully carved wood, The arms separate at one shoulder and one elbow so the doll can be dressed over the clasped hands.
Above the limbs and below the breast the body is gessoed and then painted thinly with blue pigment. Gorgeous and delicate lace trimmed under garments The hands, Feet and Head are incredibly fine carving, the proportions are perfect. I love Creche dolls but often their proportions are a bit crude, feet and hands can look kind of hurried... But now and then a a truly masterfully carved piece like this comes up! The body is smooth and perfectly proportioned. The hands and feet show a delicacy that is truly the mark of a master craftsman. The finishes are smooth and the painting subtle . This doll actually glows!
The face was what got me, the mixture of awe and longing actually makes my hands shake a little.. This little doll just fills the room.
The costume is a deep blue satin masterfully embroidered in all metallic thread , tiny metal sequins and garnet colored glass bead highlights. The hand work on this costume is astonishing. It's so perfectly rendered, and there is so much of it! What really gets me is that it's in Perfect condition! This doll has been so well kept. It's in Miraculous condition! And it is Entirely original!
The arms could be rejoined to the body (they have to be separate to dress the doll because of the clasped hands) The joins are clean with no loss of material. I was going to do it myself, but I thought better of it in case anyone wants to (carefully) remove this costume for closer study of the doll.
The feet had small wood pegs that went into the original pedestal, one of the these pegs remains in the foot while the other foot has just a small round hole in the sole where the peg was. (no doubt it stayed behind in the pedestal when it was removed) Fortunately the doll was removed from it's pedestal without cracking the finish or the wood! The feet are perfect! could easily be mounted on a wood base again, or it looks amazing on a stand with this incredible robe spreading wide around his base.
This is one of those Dolls that stands firmly in the genre of Fine Art. I actually make this argument for many antique dolls, I think they are more than just charming and beautiful, they are Important art and Important cultural icons. My colleagues in the art world don't always agree... (Museum people can be so Toffee Nosed) :-) With Creche dolls this is a much easier argument to make because of their Individuality . While a fine French Fashion doll or an early Parian are certainly, by my standards "great art" , they were also mass produced from molds, and while of course all of the molding, Modeling and the hand painting and sublime costuming lends them great individuality, it's nothing like the individuality of these early hand carved masterworks.
Had I the resources my humble little hut here in Taos New Mexico would be filled with these Creche dolls!
Many of these early Religious Icons just carry me away, I've had the good fortune to do conservation work with two large collections of New Mexico Santos over the years and spending time the the presence of such things calms me. I don't know what "it" is that seems to infuse the things we cherish as a culture, but I do know that it's tangible! There's no doubt, these things radiate our finer ambitions.
Item ID: Creche Doll elass all original
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