Infant Jesus

about 1640–50
José de Arce (Flemish, died 1666)


Overall: 58 x 28 x 25 cm (22 13/16 x 11 x 9 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Painted wood

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





A rosy cheeked infant Christ strides forward with his right arm out stretched in blessing. His cloak has been decorated to imitate brocade using the estofado technique, a process where paint is applied over a gilded surface and then scratched away to reveal the gold beneath. The delicate modeling of Christ’s face and legs highlight his innocence and vulnerability, while his powerful stance shows his role as the Savior. The sculpture, already full of vitality when stationary, would have been further animated by its use in ceremonial processions.


Possibly from the Convent of the Holy Spirit, Seville [see note 1]. Before 1999, Andrés Moro, Seville. By 2007, Antonio Plata, Seville. 2010, acquired in Seville by Matthiesen Gallery, London; 2011, sold by Matthiesen to the MFA. (Accession date: September 21, 2011)

[1] José Luis Romero Torres, unpublished essay, 2011.

Credit Line

John Lowell Gardner Fund, Marshall H. Gould Fund, Russell B. and Andrée Beauchamp Stearns Fund, and Tamara Petrosian Davis Sculpture Fund