DESCRIPTION: A large polychromed wood figure of Saint Martin De Porres, Peruvian, 18th C. Here he is depicted gazing upward toward heaven, arms outstretched, wearing his Dominican robe embroidered in gold with a long painted rosary dangling past his waist. His white undergarment is richly painted with flowers and gold leafy tendrils. Carved in full round, his head is set with glass eyes and he retains a good amount of the original paint. DIMENSIONS: 26 inches high (66 cm).
SAINT MARTIN: Martin de Porres Velázquez was born in 1579 in Lima, Peru, the son of a mixed race mother and a Spanish nobleman who eventually abandoned the family. He spent his childhood in abject poverty. At fifteen he became a lay brother of the Dominican Order in Lima and spent his whole life there as a barber, farm laborer, almoner, and infirmary worker among other things. He maintained an austere lifestyle, even by Dominican standards, and devoted himself to ceaseless and severe penances. St. Martin's love was all-embracing, shown equally to humans and to animals. He was noted for work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children's hospital, as well as an animal hospital at his sister's house. He ministered without distinction to Spanish nobles and to the slaves recently brought from Africa. Among the many miracles attributed to him were those of levitation, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, many miraculous and instantaneous cures, and an ability to communicate with animals. He died on November 3, 1639, and even after his death, many miracles of healing were attributed to him. He was eventually beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI, and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.
PROVENANCE: The Antonio Roig Ferre Collection. A native of Humacao, Puerto Rico, Antonio Roig Ferre is a noted, well respected collector and student of ecclesiastical arts, with an affinity for Spanish Colonial works. After his service in the US Armed Forces, Antonio pursued studies in both philosophy and law at the University of Puerto Rico. However, it was his interest in theology and comparative religions which laid the foundation for his lifelong interest and pursuit of Christian art, resulting in a world-class collection and private library on the subject. In 1996, he founded the Fundacion de Arte Sacro for the purpose of making accessible these types of items to a larger audience by loaning works from his collection to various museums and institutions including: the Museo de las Americas, Denver, Colorado, USA; the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; the Museo del Turabo Caguas, Puerto Rico as well as the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkley, California, just to name a few.