A carved wooden portrait of Christ made in South America in the late 19th century. This piece is intended to hang from a wall, and is constructed as a relief image. Elaborately painted in a realistic fashion, this bust of Jesus shows delicate drops of blood along his forehead. His mouth is open and hollow inside; his eyes show deep sorrow and suffering. The use of painting is quite realistic yet has a personal stylized touch. The artist is unknown yet this piece shows dedication and craft. The paint is worn, but because oftentimes the pigments used on retablos were of organic origin, this is to be expected, and normal for the piece's age . The wear does not detract from the beauty of this piece. The figure of Jesus is rendered in soft matte colors, except for his glass eyes, which stand out and lock the viewer into his gaze.
Retablos, or physical representations of Christ, have long served a purpose in religious communities. They are used to support communication between the divine and the worshipers, creating a non-verbal and spiritual connection. This is quite evident from the way in which this figure, with almost glowing eyes, has been crafted to draw its viewer in.
There are two holes on the back square piece from where the head protrudes; the piece is ready to hang. This religious image is a great addition to any retablo or art collection. It was most likely once part of a devotional altar piece. It is in good antique condition.
The dimensions of the head on the wood back-board are 5-1/2 x 5 x 3-1/2 inches. Circa 1890.