The Sacred Made Real 21.12.09

Also at the National Gallery is The Sacred Made Real. An exhibition of super realistic religious sculptures created in 17th century Spain. In many cases graphic and gory, designed to shock viewers into a deeper faith. An accompanying film explains the meticulous carving methods, often adding glass eyes, ivory teeth, finger nails made from bulls horn and even bark from cork trees to achieve convincing scabby knees. Sculptures were then sent to a specially trained painter to be finished in realistic skin tones – a process known as “polchroming”. At the same time a similar level of realism was being produced by canvas painters.