Posted 6 years ago
I saw this hilarious clay sculpture a couple of months ago in a consignment shop, and my husband and I couldn't resist buying it. The owner didn't know much about the piece and thought it represented the Day of The Dead, which may turn out to be partially true. This Diablitos Devil Wagon resembles the early 1960s creations of Marcelino Vicente, Mescal Sculptor of Ocumicho in the rural Mexican state of Michoacan.
Marcelino's story is tragic, yet fascinating. He was born about 1933 in the tiny town of Ocumicho, Mexico. He never seemed to fit in with the men folk, in that he opted to design pottery with the women of the village. In the 1960s, being the rebel that he was, he designed and sculpted these busy, outlandish, and devilish clay dioramas in his workshop. The townspeople were religious and wouldn't allow them in their homes, but all Marcelino had to do was pack these obscene babies up and take them to the market place, where tourists loved and clamored for more. Once discovered, Marcelino became instantly famous, which inspired animosity and jealousy among the locals. Unfortunately, he only lived to sculpt five more years. At the young age of 35, while he was having a beer in a bar, a group of men beat him, and he bled to death on the way to the hospital. This occurred just before the Day of the Dead. It is believed that very few of his original pieces can be found, since his sculptures all but disappeared into private collections.
You can see that there's a real party going on here, and this bizarre Diablito Wagon is bustling with action. It's covered with devils and snakes, all happily cavorting with two senoritas. The devils and snakes have big smiles on their faces. The donkey has his mouth open in a big grin, too. The devilish red Diablito holds the yellow reins, and the senorita sitting next to him doesn't look too sure about where she's going. Happy snakes are slithering around the sculpture, while one black Diablito lays on the ground with its mouth open wide under a wine jug. The gray Diabilito on top is having a high time, and, on the top rear, we have a reclining clay-colored Diablito who is engaged in a drink fest with another black devil and senorita who are imbibing below. At least fourteen decorative wine jugs adorn the yellow wagon, with it's black and white wheels. The green-painted red clay base is crudely adorned with white lacy designs (typical of Vicente's work). The underneath of the base reveals a repaired crack across the middle, as is usually discussed in descriptions of Marcelino Vicente's top-heavy creations. Weighing almost 14 pounds, the sculpture measures approximately 21 inches long by 8 inches wide by 15 inches high.
With its earth-tone color palette and yellow varnish, this sculpture appears to be an authentic Marcelino Vicente original. Everyone who views it has a different impression. Some are repulsed by it, and some are merely intrigued by it. Others can understand and experience the inner child of the artist. What do you think?