Click here to view image
Unknown sculptor of Nordic culture, second half of the 17th century
Engraved ivory, 38.3 x 15 x 11 cm
In storage (inv. no. PB 146)
Legacy of Ambrosioni, 1905
An extraordinary ivory Immacolata (second half 17th century) that illustrates the truly uncommon skill of the craftman in working this material. Unfortunately, the provenance of this genuine masterpiece is unknown, but its iconography suggests Genoese affiliations despite the fact that some details (in particular the complicated hairstyle) would point to the hand of a Nordic artist. Exactly who the artist was is difficult to say. Many foreign sculptors (Flemish, French, German) working in ivory came to Italy - and Genoa was one of the principal destinations - to refine their art in carving, and then, often, they stayed or settled in Italy.
Similarly there were, of course, numerous Italian artists working in ivory. They, like their foreign colleagues, produced works in various materials: not only ivory, but also stone, wood and metals. Unfortunately almost none of them signed or dated their works so we are left to admire a masterpiece that stands out among the ivories of the time while investigating an intriguing open question.