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How Were They Made? Unlocking the 500-Year-Old Secret to Gothic Miniature Boxwood Carvings

Friday, March 10, 2017 16:01
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How Were They Made? Unlocking the 500-Year-Old Secret to Gothic Miniature Boxwood Carvings

A mystery that lasted for nearly five centuries was finally solved with the assistance of modern technology. The magnificent 16th century miniature boxwood carvings that had been puzzling viewers and experts alike with their depictions of heaven, hell, and life on Earth, sculpted in incredible detail, were one of art history’s greatest mysteries…but not anymore. 

An Introduction to the Magnificent Gothic Boxwood Carvings

If you’re into religious art and its evolution throughout the centuries, then these small carved boxwood miniature sculptures which you can literally enclose inside your palm, are definitely going to impress you. Their iconography gets inspiration from biblical scenes (with extensive depictions of the Crucifixion).  There are clear influences from contemporary literature as well. The objects’ tense and unsuitable impact, being both tiny and extensive simultaneously, are especially convenient for depictions of Heaven and Hell. It is thought that the entire body of work was created during a relatively short period of time, between 1500 and 1530, somewhere in Flanders or the Netherlands. This makes perfect sense if one takes into account how during the same period of time, there was an impressive rise of a new merchant social class in Europe that created a market demand for high-quality portable religious carvings.

Rosary bead with carvings of the Vision of St Hubert and St George and the Dragon, Boxwood, Sculpture, Miniature. – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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