Head of a Woman

Head of a Woman

c. 1800

Part of a set. See all set records


Overall: 7.4 x 3.9 x 3.6 cm (2 15/16 x 1 9/16 x 1 7/16 in.)

Gift of Leopold and Ruth Blumka 1965.74.2



Each of these miniscule terracotta busts has allegedly been formed by hand, though the precision of the detailed features implies that they have been cast from a mold. Details such as the meticulously executed facial features and the thin, exact rows of hair on each figure suggest a manufactured method of creation, yet the pair is deemed handmade. Furthermore, these figures lack any trace of fingerprints that handmade figures of this time typically bear. Small holes at the base of each bust suggest that the heads were once attached to bodies that may have been used as crèche figurines. The busts were created in Naples where large numbers of nativity scenes were produced around the turn of the nineteenth-century. The similarity in size to archetypal terracotta crèche figurines, as well as the vast production of nativities in Naples at this time lends to the possibility that these busts were created for a nativity scene.

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