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Attributed to Giuseppe Sanmartino, Infant Jesus. Naples, second half 18th century. Materials; Polychromed terracotta, charred wood and rope, silver-gilt halo. Measurement; L.3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm) Diam. 2 1/2 in. (6.4cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York City.


Modern in comparison to the other works of this exhibition, this sculpture is an example of the way a halo can completely change the identity of the subject it adorns. This figure was accompanied by other characters from the classic scene of the Nativity, but even if it had not been, it would be safe to assume that a sculpture of a haloed baby was a depiction of Jesus. In agreement with the MET, the architectural structure originally surrounding them is believed by some to signify the triumph of Christianity over Paganism. The fact that such a notable sculptor spent such time and care on the details of this sculpture serve as evidence of the importance and significance of these holy subjects at the time.

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