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Sculpture | Painting

Sculpture

Wood | Plaster | Wax

The French word “imagier” (image sculptor) dates back to the Middle Ages and seems much more appropriate for describing these sculptors who made works intended for worship and popular devotions. These sculptors were often ornamental architects or vice versa. The individuals sculpted were part of the decor: nooks in tabernacles and altarpieces held sculptures of patron saints; the bas-reliefs on wall panels, pulpits or altars evoke religious scenes and serve to instruct and educate the faithful.

Sculptors worked essentially with wood although they sometimes used paper-mâché or wax. The sculptures were always gilded, flesh-toned or polychromatic. This technique is very old. The art of gilding and polychromatic coloring has been practiced by artists since ancient times. Unfortunately, gilding with gold leaf or polychromatic sculptures with their rich tones have rarely survived to our times in their original state.

Some samples of sculptures made of paper-mâché, plaster or waxen still exist. Obviously, given their fragility, fewer of these works have survived.

Wood

From the very earliest days, churches in the colony were decorated with religious statues that encourage the people to worship. The represented the Archangel Michael, St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Family, and the holy anglels. They were made of wood, initially sculpted by French craftmen, and then later by local artisans, such as the Lavasseur and Baillargé sculptors. In the 19th century, Louis Jobin was one of the most famous wood carvers in Quebec.

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Sculpture Virgin and child

Sculpture
Virgin and child
Late 17th century
1994.1581

Sculpture St. Madeleine

Sculpture
St. Madeleine
Dauphin, Claude
Late 19th century
1994.1192.1

Sculpture St. John

Sculpture
St. John
Dauphin, Claude
Late 19th century
1994.2796

High relief sculpture Holy spirit

High relief sculpture
Holy spirit
Durocher, Urbain, attribuée à
Early 19th century
1994.1474

Sculpture St. Joseph and Jesus as a child

Sculpture
St. Joseph and Jesus as a child
1994.536

Sculpture The Wandering Bishop

Sculpture
The Wandering Bishop
Early 20th century
1994.1489

Plaster

Statute makers, sculptors and ornamentists, bringing their traditions and knowledge in the art of religions sculptures with them from Italy, started to make a name for themselves in Montreal in anout 1850. They worked with marble, stucco, stone and plaster.

At the start of the 20th century, plaster statues become very important. The Carli and Petrucci families were two of the most important statute makers in Montreal. They made statues for churches, shrines and grottos as well as statuettes that the faithful could keep in their homes.

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Figurine Virgin and child

Figurine
Virgin and child
Late 18th century
1994.253

Sculpture St. Charles Borromée

Sculpture
St. Charles Borromée
Early
20th century
1994.1578

Sculpture Virgin and snake

Sculpture
Virgin and snake
Late 17th century
1994.1599

Statuette Our Lady of Victory

Statuette
Our Lady of Victory
Late 19th century
1994.364

Statuette St. Joseph and Jesus as a child

Statuette
St. Joseph and Jesus as a child
1994.669

Wax

In 1855, Queen Victoria agreed to show one of her portrait, made with her hair, at the Paris World Exposition. From that time, wax statutes and works made with hair became increasingly popular during the Victorian era (1837-1901). It was considered good taste to have a work made of wax or hair in the salons of middle-class homes.

This fashion also became popular in Quebec in the 19th century. Nuns specialized in making bouquets of flowers, the Agnus Dei, wax dolls that were kept under glass or uused for Christmas nativity scenes andsmall, was funerary monuments, including decorations made with the hair of the deceased.

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Figurine Virgin and child

Figurine
Virgin and child
Early 18th century
1994.260

Statue Baby Jesus

Statue
Baby Jesus
20th century
1994.173.1.1-4