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The Toledo Museum of Art has added a major sculpture, The Infant Christ by foremost Spanish 17th-century sculptor Juan Martínez Montañés (1568–1649), to its collection. “The acquisition marks the first Spanish sculpture and the first polychromed wood sculpture from that period to enter the TMA collection,” said Museum Director Brian Kennedy.
Montañés, who lived and worked in Seville his entire career, was esteemed in his day as “El Dios de la Madera,” the god of wood. He had an impressive talent for modeling human anatomy; the hallmark of his style is startling realism.
“The Infant Christ is a commanding example of Montañés’s artistry,” said Lawrence Nichols, William Hutton curator, European and American painting and sculpture before 1900. “The foremost reason the Toledo Museum of Art acquired this object is the inherent quality of the sculpture. Its carving is adept and subtle. The polychromy is skillfully carried out and convincingly harmonizes with the carving. The naturalism of the piece is palpable,” he said.
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