A relief plaque with an allegorical depiction of a pelican

A relief plaque with an allegorical depiction of a pelican - image-1
A relief plaque with an allegorical depiction of a pelican - image-1

A relief plaque with an allegorical depiction of a pelican

An alabaster and grey marble tondo with a stylised depiction of a pelican bird with wings outstretched above its three chicks. D 51 cm.
Attributed to Italy / Florence, late 17th / early 18th C.

Depictions of the pelican standing over a group of chicks in a nest, opening its chest with its beak to feed them with its own blood and thus awaken them from the dead can already be found in early Christian art. The story is based on the book of the Physiologus, an early Christian description of the natural world written in Greek, the earliest examples of which date from the 2nd to 4th centuries. The first Latin version was written in the 8th or 9th century and the work was translated into German in the 15th century. In the Christian world, the image of the pelican sacrificing itself for its young was interpreted as an allegory of Christ's sacrifice and the belief in resurrection. Depictions of the pelican can thus be found decorating churches, monasteries, communion chalices, and coats of arms, and were even used by the Masonic Order.

Provenance

North Italian collection.

Literature

Cf. Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie, vol. 3, Freiburg 1971, p. 390 f.

Lot 994 Dα

Estimate:
10.000 € - 12.000 €

Result:
12.500 €