Catholic Priest with Outstretched Arms
Item No. 7000
20th Century, Christian, Mexico
Wood with Polychrome
27.25" x 12" x 10.5"
( 69.215 x 30.48 x 26.67 cm)
(H x W x D)
This Catholic priest wears a long brown and black robe with a belt and wide sleeves. His arms are stretched out and forward, and he holds a blue cross in his right hand and a bible in his left. There is a metal rectangular plate nailed above the belt and to his chest on which is painted a kneeling monk holding a candle. A light blue rectangular area is painted on the robe below the belt from which a horned devil with a dark blue face, red ears and a mischievous smile juts out in a menacing fashion. The blue devil's head is decorated with white striations at the mouth, nose, eyebrows and forehead and on the horns as well.The head of the priest is large, and he is painted with a flesh-tone color. He supports a long and deep black beard and hair that are carved in noticeable deep strands. The priests lips are painted in a deep and bright red, the nose and cheeks are prominent and jut outward, the blue and very white glass eyes are deeply set, the forehead also juts forward and the eyebrows are flat and painted black.
There is a second light blue menacing horned devil with red and white painted ears that springs forward from a light blue circle painted on the priest's head. The blue of the devil contrasts greatly with the deep black of the priest's hair and beard, and the forward movement of the devil is also meant to be contrary to the deeply set, inward placement of the priest's eyes. The entire piece is mounted on a thin, almost rectangular, fairly crude and unfinished piece of wood painted the same color as the blue painted areas out of which the devils spring forward. There kinds of carvings are often meant to show the contrast between the white man's religion Catholicism represented, of course, by the priest, and the indigenous religion that were originally in Mexico and which are represented by the devil-like, mischievous and possibly menacing spirits that spring out from the priest. It may also be a native comment on the catholic religion, meaning that evil springs from the nind and heart of the priest.
This piece is in good condition with small losses in one of the devil's horn on the head and at three of the four fingers on the priest's hand below the bible. Also, there are expected paint chips and losses in various places on the robe and elsewhere.