Sunday, 15 June 2008

Alabaster Magi Out

At the AA315 V&C study day at the V&A I had the chance to have a close look at the Alabaster Magi. I don’t like it. Further there’s something not quite right about the polychrome. The worn gilding on the left edge looks real – aged by time and some mis-use but the green background and the black magi …..don’t look original to me. The colours perhaps were a later addition to enhance the piece and make it easier to sell.

That black – not only is his colour ‘wrong’ but the facial characteristics are too European. On the last point I know it may have been sculptured by someone who had never seen a real Black and was working within the Magi iconography in which a black is there to represent Africa. So, having not seen one he simply sculpts a European featured face and then paints it black. See for your self in the close up

So tomorrow’s the big day I get see the Rood Screen


JD said...

I agree with your thoughts on this. Representing Africa was probably the cause for the features and colour. JD

Paulo Veronese said...

That's why I was so pleased to see the Black in the Rood screen close up, even though quite primatively executed it's recognisable as Black.