Holy Family Group

Wood, gesso, paint. Joseph and Mary figures approximately 1½ feet tall (46 cm.)
Church of Santa Ana del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico

Joseph and Mary are portrayed by two matched figures flanking a modern doll that represents the Christ Child. Mary is on the right in a red robe with cream collar and blue cape, Joseph on the left in a green robe with gold cape).

The statues are entirely wood. Both are rather dusty and the colors have darkened. The drapery of the robes and capes is eloquently carved. The Joseph statue's right hand is extended in a way that would permit it to hold a lily stalk, though none is in evidence. The carving of the Virgin's hair is especially remarkable. As it extends onto the shoulders it forms a harmonious whole with the cape.

The Virgin holds a fresh flower in the right hand; the left is extended palm-up and holds a coin. The lining of the mantle is decorated with arabesques and there are vestiges of gold on the cincture. The mantle is not drawn back up to the waist, as is so common in Mexican representations of biblical figures, but falls open from the right shoulder while the right leg steps forward.

There are three spikes in the Virgin's head, presumably for fitting a crown. Small spots of paint have flecked away from the robe, revealing gesso underneath.

More of the Holy Family

Photographed at the church by Claire and Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.