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Mediterranean

| Decorative relief sculpture of the vision of St Anthony of Padua |

Unknown craftsman from Messina, Sicily

Decorative relief sculpture of the vision of St Anthony of Padua

Artist
Unknown craftsman from Messina, Sicily
Date
c. 1720
Size
128 x 87.5 cm (with frame)
Technique
Coral and mixed media
Location
Mediterranean Gallery – Beauty and Purpose
This feast for the eyes features coloured glass and gems, amber and wax floral and foliage reliefs, engraved mother-of-pearl, silver filigree borders, embossed silver and copper sheets, gilt bronze elements, engraved figures and flowers in ivory, small salmon-coloured coral, agate, porphyry and lapis lazuli stones, and tortoiseshell frames. The artwork served as a devotional item in a private home. It is of Sicilian make, possibly from Messina. The central scene depicts the vision of St Anthony of Padua within a lavish architectural setting. On heavenly clouds, the Christ Child, in the Virgin Mary’s lap, reaches down to the kneeling St Anthony. God appears above the saint holding a globe, while the Holy Spirit completes the Trinity. A cherub approaches St Anthony with a lily stalk as a symbol of purity, while another carries a book as a symbol of wisdom. The beautiful workmanship and dazzling materials evoke the beauty of heaven which St Anthony inhabits in this vision.

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