Page 3, 28th November 1958

28th November 1958
Page 3
Page 3, 28th November 1958 — r § 5 ictures in Church: No. 42o § .PAIN,
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r § 5 ictures in Church: No. 42o § .PAIN,

since the Renaissance, even more than before, produced prodigous amounts of sculpture. The surviving works to be found all over the country. in provincial and diocesan museums and in the humblest of little churches are so vast in number that little attempt has ever been made to attribute them to named artists or even to group them into schools.

Indeed it is doubtful if any great names would emerge from any such effort for Spanish sculptural art grew Out of a folk art and with little influence from the Italian renuisstince. remained a folk art, rooted fundamentally in the intense, dramatic devotion (Jr the Spanish people to their saints.

The over-realistic taste of the Spanish. has its head in the sculpture of the baroque and the rococo ages. Here the original love of polychrome and gilded wood was wildly superceded. Statues of Our .Lady and the saints were completely hidden under sets of magnificently tailored vestments, over-sewn with pearls and precious stones. These were changed with the feasts.

The hands displayed resplendent rings on every finger. The neck was hung with pendants of great value. Glass eyes dropping glass tears, and real hair might also be added to achieve even more realism and the head would support a superb halo of gold often fashioned like an elaborate tiara.

Behind the saint a shrine of great richness would be constructed to hold this figure, symbol of the greatest humility in life and now elevated by loving followers to a position where ostentation has never been heard of, and the richer the display the greater the honour bestowed That is the point where it is difficult for people inherently restrained in their expression of any feeling and religious feeling most of all, to have sympathy for the Spanish popular

statues. " Painted murals, seminary pietists and saccharine sweet immaculate% " is the text-book description.

Aesthetically they are however, not always without merit because although often tawdry and lacking that desirable thing, form, yet they rarely lack spirit and spontaneity and are the expression of an intense and es en passionate devotion.

IRIS CONLAY




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