The Virgin of the Annunciation
ca. 1750
21.5" x 10.5" x 10.75"
Bultos, wood, gesso relief, pigment, silver leaf brociado
Region: Guatemala
Small Devotional sculptures were prevalent in Guatemala, in the Audiencia of Charcas (present-day Bolivia), and New Granada (present-day Ecuador and Colombia). Those in Guatemala were probably produced locally, but a number of pieces in Charcas and New Granada may have been imported from Quito. Quito sculptors specialized in small-scale polychromed wood figures, producing works of exceptional quality. The gilding and polychromy of the draperies and the highly polished flesh tones give these small sculptures a distinctive quality reminiscent of porcelain figurines. The technique used for the surface finishes and colors, "estofado," of these groups depended on skills practiced in Spain and Portugal, which were developed and adapted to the small size of the South American pieces. The word "estofado" comes from "estofa," meaning “textile,” and is used to describe this technique because the painted surface imitates a fine fabric, such as brocade or embroidered silk.