Artworks in Arcadja5
Some works of Alejo De VahiaExtracted between 5 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Sotheby's -Jul 6, 2017 - LondonLot number: 66
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
VIRGIN OF THE ASSUMPTION UK: Greenford Park Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction. gilt and polychromed wood 114cm., 44 7/8 in. Provenance Sotheby's Munich, 17 May 1979, lot 93; Sotheby's London, 7 July 1999, lot 59 Catalogue Note This serene Virgin with hands folded together in prayer was probably originally part of a large group or retable depicting the Assumption of the Virgin. The lower part may once have been composed of a crescent moon, clouds, or angels, aiding the Virgin in her ascent into Heaven, but the sculpture is now truncated at the knees. The present work was previously sold in Munich as anonymous Spanish - then with a probably later lower part attached - , but a more precise attribution has recently been proposed. The sculptor Alejo de Vahía, active around the Palencia area from 1473-1515, was probably trained in the Middle Rhine region or Flanders. His distinctive Hispano-Flemish style can be recognised in the present sculpture, with his signature tresses of stylised curly hair and heavily folded drapery with long vertical folds. Compare to a figure of a Virtue, currently in the Museo de Santa María in Becerril de Campos. This Virgin of the Assumption can be dated to the later part of Alejo de Vahía's career, when he was influenced by a more classicised style which was heralded by a younger generation of sculptors such as Gil de Siloé. A further argument for this date can be found in the central panel of the main altar of the Cathedral of Palencia, where Felipe Bigarny's Assumption of the Virgin shows great similarities to the present Virgin, including the idealised, classical face, the hands together in prayer, and the drapery which folds around the elbows and arms and cascades down in vertical folds. Bigarny's altarpiece is recorded to have been commissioned in 1505 and completed in 1509; the present sculpture is likely to have been completed contemporaneously or slightly later. Overall the condition of the wood is very good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. At one point in its history, the figure had additional lower legs, however, these were deemed to be later additions and were subsequently removed, as the subject is the kneeling Virgin. The hands may be reattached, and there are restorations at the wrists. There is a slightly open stable joint at the proper left arm. There is stable splitting to the wood, consistent with the material, including one split from the bottom running up to the abdomen, and there are minor stable splits to the top of the head. There are various losses to the polychromy and gilding, including at the proper left elbow. There is general wear to the polychromy and gilding, some of the polychromy may have been refreshed, in particular to the face. There is a cream paint to the back of the head. There are several small holes to the top of the head, and a small hole in the upper chest. There are some small losses to the drapery at the abdomen. There are various small holes in the drapery, in particular in the hanging folds below the abdomen. There are small losses to the drapery at the bottom. Part of the back of the sculpture has been cut away, probably at a later date, resulting in a rectangular recess. There are some small holes in the back. There are two modern metal hooks in the back. Several pieces of drapery on the back on the proper left side are reattached, and there may have been a lost piece of wood at the bottom. There is minor evidence of non-active worming, in particular at the back on the proper left shoulder. There are a few small losses to the edges of the mantle, at the chest on the proper right side.