Something You Can Feel, Mickalene Thomas, 2008, rhinestone, acrylic, and enamel on panel. Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) recently acquired a newly discovered St. Francis of Assisi by José de Mora (1642-1724). The polychromy on the figure is exceptional in the rendering of the coarse weave of his wool habit and the pose itself displays a remarkable dynamism. With his mouth slightly open, the saint leans forward with his left leg and presses his right hand to his chest. The extended left arm once clutched a cross upon which he meditated. With glass balls for eyes, real hair for eyelashes, and a real knotted cord around his waist, St. Francis shows off the new levels of hyperrealism that Spanish artists were able to achieve in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Dated to the last quarter of the seventeenth century, this very important work by Mora represents the first example of Spanish Baroque polychrome sculpture to enter the DIA’s collection.
The painting is on view in the
African American Art gallery N290 within the Contemporary Art Suite of
Black Moorish Woman (Mauresque Noire)
, Charles Cordier, 1856, bronze, silvered, gilt, black, brown and green patina. Detroit Institute of Arts
In 2012, the DIA acquired this exceptionally fine, important, and unique polychromed bronze bust entitled Mauresque Noire by the talented French sculptor Charles Cordier (1827–1905). Cordier entered this particular work for the 1862 London International Exhibition and his 1865 Paris Sale, in both of which it was highly acclaimed. Cordier’s documented and recently rediscovered Mauresque Noire is one of the best examples of polychrome sculptures this artist who was the first to explore, portray and celebrate ethnic diversity in a wide range of subjects. The attractive and elegant appearance of the richly costumed Algerian woman, who lived next door to Cordier in Algiers, evokes not merely outer beauty, but also a strong, eternal beauty.
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