Alonso Berruguete, Reinassance Sculptor - Page 19

from stone and covered in gilded Plateresque decoration by local
Mendoza’s Christian Renaissance
craftsmen. Comparing Fancelli’s elegant effigy and architecture
In Spain, as Fernando Marías has brilliantly set out, the
to that of Andrea Bregno (1418-1506), Lenaghan concludes that
Renaissance took the form of “a Christian Renaissance which
after his initial apprenticeship in Florence, Fancelli probably
did not refer to Antiquity and which must be analysed using
worked alongside Bregno in Rome. He hails the Mendoza tomb
different categories and values.” 37 Classical texts were read and
as a creative tour de force – a double arch, with few typological
translated, but this was done in the service of the Church, for
precedents – and sees the monument as a clever response to
example as part of work on the Complutensian Polyglot Bible
conflicting demands. The Cardinal before his death had specified
produced between 1502 and 1517. According to Marías, interest
his place of burial in the chancel, directing that it should be like a
in the material legacy of the classical world was superficial rather
triumphal arch and sculpted on both sides. The cathedral chapter
than driven by new ways of seeing: there were, for example, no
objected to this breach of sacred space, writing to Queen Isabella
proper treatises written on perspective in Spain in the sixteenth
to complain. Fancelli’s design accommodated the Cardinal’s
century, and notions of ideal proportions remained medieval
demands but left the space largely enclosed. However, like the
and even Byzantine rather studied from nature. He stresses
tombs from Cuéllar, the Italianate structure involved several local
the continued preference for northern European models, with
workshops and includes a number of reliefs and monumental
Italian style overlaid as “adornment”. Marías also describes the
figures carved in the local Late Gothic style.
“Plateresque style” associated with this period – with its profusion
of Renaissance motifs applied to largely Gothic structures – as
It was not until after the Toledan tomb was underway that a
“proto-Renaissance.” In his view, the reference to the Labours
sculptural work fully produced by (and documented to) Fancelli
of Hercules in Bigarny’s Carrying of the Cross in Burgos referred to
appeared in Seville. This was the tomb commissioned by
the historical fact of the Roman occupation of Jerusalem rather
Tendilla for his brother, Cardinal Diego Hurtado de Mendoza,
than to a learned parallel between the mythical hero and Christ.
Archbishop of Seville (1444-1502). Another wall tomb, this
According to Marías, it was only with Alonso Berruguete that all
one has a single triumphal arch and was based on Giovanni
of this changed.
Dalmata’s and Mino da Fiesole’s tomb of Paul II in Rome.42
It is noticeably more austere than the one in Toledo, partly
Nevertheless, Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza (1428-1495)
because it is carved from marble and unpolychromed but also
commissioned work in the Renaissance style from an early date, as
because it does not share the same ornate Plateresque decorative
did his nephew, Íñigo López de Mendoza y Quiñones (1440-1515).
scheme. Fancelli carved the tomb in Genoa, finishing it 1509
Known as “el Gran Tendilla,” Íñigo had accompanied his father,
and then supervising its installation in Seville Cathedral. He
the Cardinal’s brother, to Rome in 1458 and went back as the
had by now clearly made a name for himself: although his
Catholic Monarchs’ ambassador to the Papal Court in 1486.
next commission, the tomb of was Prince Juan (1478-97), was
The Cardinal – who had translated from Latin the Illiad, the
arranged by Tendilla, Fancelli’s authorship had been specified
Aneid and some books of Ovid’s Metamorphoses – sent with him the
by Queen Isabella before she died.43 Also carved from Carrara
Segovian architect Lorenzo Vázquez.40 When they returned in
marble and unpolychromed, the young prince’s tomb was free-
1487, the Cardinal commissioned from Vázquez the first building
standing rather than set into a wall, and finished by October
in the Renaissance style in Spain, the Colegio de Santa Cruz in
1513 (fig. 12).44 Located in front of the high-altar in the
Valladolid, with a classical façade and courtyard. The design of
convent of Santo Tomás in Avila, the tomb follows Antonio del
the Cardinal’s own tomb is attributed by Patrick Lenaghan to
Pollaiuolo’s bronze monument to Sixtus IV from Saint Peter’s in
Domenico Fancelli (1469-1519) who came from Settignano near
Rome. Pollaoiuolo’s work was one of the most highly-praised of
Florence (fig. 11). The tomb was started posthumously in 1503
the High Renaissance, above all for its figures representing the
and is known to have been finished by 1513, although it was
Virtues and Liberal Arts.45 Fancelli’s version omitted the Liberal
probably complete by 1508. However, as Lenaghan demonstrates,
Arts – no doubt considered inappropriate by the Spanish clergy
only the Cardinal’s marble effigy appears to have been produced
– and instead included reliefs of the Virgin and Saint John, along
by Fancelli himself. The remainder of the tomb was carved
with griffins and putti.
Fig. 11. Domenico Fancelli and Toledo workshop, Tomb of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, marble and stone, Toledo Cathedral.

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