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Northern Italian Altar Crucifix with Serpent Vanitas c.1750

SKU: R7495

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Regular price Sale price £2,750.00
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An amazingly rare example of a highly unusual Northern Italian devotional Altar Crucifix c.1750

The altarpiece depicts a Memento Mori or vanitas displaying the Devil in the guise of the serpent writhing around the base of the cross upon the hill of Calvary. The serpent holds the apple clutched in his fangs, a reference to the original sin in the garden of Eden. The notion of the Garden of Eden is also represented with tiny intricate shells, vines, rocks and flowers adorning the base of the landscape. Underneath the base of the altarpiece are six finely carved polychromed clawed feet as supports. This superb piece is expertly carved in wood, gessoed, polychromed and gilded. Real tiny snail shells are even encased within the polychrome of the stand.

To the back of the base, hand-painted as faux marble, the work is signed with the scrolling calligraphic signature “L. Wälde Sculpteur”.

A triumph of craftsmanship and artistry. This work of art was created to remind us of our own mortality and as a devotional piece.

With provenance from a Gentleman’s Parisian apartment, whom worked alongside Andy Warhol at ‘The Factory’. The piece was reputedly given to him by Andy Warhol as a gift.

  • Width: 37 cm (14.57″)
  • Height: 92.5 cm (36.42″)
  • Depth: 28 cm (11.02″)