From Saint Stanislav to Saint Philip.
Father arrived with a broken statue of Saint Stanislav Kostka for us to transform into Saint Philip Neri.
Saint Stan was 17 when he passed from this world, whereas Saint Philip was 79. His features were soft and immature compared to the heavy browed and bearded Philip.
in regard to ageing the figure, Father was happy to make a compromise, and asked us to portray Saint Philip in his 40's.; A good choice because working on an existing statue has its structural limitations. Along with some changes to the facial features, we removed St. Stan's generous forelock in favour of the slightly receding hairline of St. Philip.
The Oratarian biretta or bonetta (I am still uncertain which term is correct) has evolved somewhat since the times of Saint Philip, who was born in Italy in the year 1515. The biretta familiar to St. Philip appeared from contemporaneous portraits of him to be a less structured affair than the stiffer and rather formal version we see today.
Father kindly sent me some photos of Oratarians wearing birettas for reference. Each Biretta looked different on each individual, depending on how they choose to wear it. If too small and pulled down onto the crown, one side pushes out to resemble a point. Not quite what the tailor intended I thought... I chose to work from a photo of a young Oratorian that had the best fitting and smartest biretta...
Re-modelling the statue
We added not only a biretta and beard to the statue but also changed the fastening on the cassock from a vertical to horizontal one, and added the customary five buttons across the chest. Based on the medieval references I had for saint Philip, I styled his white collar to suit. Finally, we made a new hand to replace one which was missing from the baby Jesu which Saint Philip cradles.
A Downloadable resource for the life of Saint Philip Neri can be found on the website 'Treasures of the Church'.