Alonso Berruguete, Reinassance Sculptor - Page 27

produced in 1524 for Canon Gonzálo de Lerma in the chapel of
Bigarny’s decorum
the Consolation in Burgos Cathedral (fig. 23). This was yet another
Just as Bartolomé Ordóñez and Diego de Siloe were arriving
tomb in the mould of Pollaiuolo’s for Sixtus IV, considerably
back in Spain, Felipe Bigarny entered into a partnership in
simplified and likely to have been modelled not from the Roman
Saragossa with the young Alonso Berruguete. The commission
monument but from Diego de Siloe’s tomb for Luis de Acuña.
was for the alabaster tomb of Charles V’s chancellor, Jean le
Bigarny’s Virtues and saints are contained in large roundels in his
Sauvage – or Selvagio as he was known in Spain – who had
own distinctive style, similar to the Virgin and Child now in Museo
died during the imperial court’s stay in the city from May 1518
Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid (fig. 24). Gonzalo’s effigy is not,
to January 1519. As Rosario Coppel explains in her chapter
however, like the idealised and stylised effigies created by Italian
in this volume, Berruguete had recently returned from Italy,
Renaissance sculptors such as Fancelli and those following directly
and – although only fragments of the tomb survive – it is clear
in their wake like Diego de Siloe. It retains instead the vigorous
from contemporary descriptions that the monument was in
naturalism of Late-Gothic sculpture – closer to the manner of Gil
the Renaissance style. Following his initial reliefs in Burgos
de Siloe in the tomb of Isabella’s parents at Miraflores – recreating
Cathedral, Bigarny had continued to employ Italian motifs in
the canon’s deeply-lined jowls and prominent nose as well as
projects such as the portal of the Monastery of Santa Clara in
his elaborately decorated cassock. Bigarny went on to produce
Casalarreina, produced between 1512 and 1515.62 However,
tombs for several other grandees, including Fr. Alonso de Burgos,
according to the eminent art historian José María Azcárate, it
the long-deceased Bishop of Palencia buried in the colegio de
was Bigarny’s collaboration with Berruguete that made a decisive
San Gregorio in Valladolid. This tomb was destroyed during the
Italianate mark on his style.
Napoleonic invasion, but according to a contemporary description
was of white marble on a jasper base and surrounded by Virtues,
saints and sphinxes as well as a balustrade worked with cherubs.68
His first commission after the Sauvage tomb was an altarpiece for
the high altar of the Capilla Real in Granada, where he would
have seen the new tomb by Fancelli and perhaps encountered
One of Bigarny’s final, and most impressive, achievements was
the newly-arrived Italian sculptors Pietro Torrigiano and Jacopo
to produce the carved stalls on the left side of the upper choir in
Fiorentino. The architectural structure of the Capilla Real
Toledo Cathedral. Cardinal Tavera, Archbishop of Toledo, clearly
altarpiece was considered by Gómez-Moreno a masterpiece
aspired to command the most magnificent choir in Spain, and
of the Plateresque style.64 But although Bigarny placed greater
both Bigarny and Diego de Siloe were asked to present drawings.69
The final design features walnut panels with low reliefs of saints
emphasis here on the human anatomy, for example in the scene
of the Martyrdom of Saint John the Evangelist, his figures were mostly
Fig. 21. Felipe Bigarny, Ferdinand of Aragon, polychromed
and figures from the Old and New Testaments. One of these,
heavily draped and Burgundian. As Isabel del Río de la Hoz
wood, Capilla Real, Granada.
Bigarny’s Gideon, recalls the Roman soldiers in his first relief of
demonstrates, Bigarny’s model of ideal proportions derived from
the medieval canon advocated by Pomponio Guaricus, rather than
from the ancient Roman architect Virtruvius who informed, for
the Carrying of the Cross in Burgos (fig. 25). Above the walnut panels
Fig. 22. Pietro Torrigiano, Penitent Saint Jerome, polychromed
is a tier of alabaster with high reliefs of the prophets believed to
terracotta, Museo de Bellas Artes, Seville.
have prophesied Jesus’s birth.70 The commission for the stalls on
the other side of the upper choir went to Alonso Berruguete, who
example, Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of 1490.66
also produced the archbishopric chair on account of Bigarny’s
A direct line can be drawn between Gil de Siloe’s kneeling
of Spanish Baroque sculpture. Bigarny’s figures in the Capilla
death. To the end Bigarny remained true to notions of Christian
Bishop Luis de Acuña to the left of his Tree of Jesse in Burgos and
Real are in striking contrast to the muscular terracotta Saint Jerome
decorum: even as he portrayed the human figure according
Bigarny’s life-sized figures of Isabella and Ferdinand praying at the
produced by the Florentine Pietro Torrigiano in Granada at
to Renaissance ideals, his characters remained fully clothed.
foot of the work in the Capilla Real (fig. 21). The decoration of
around the same time (fig. 22). As Vasari recounts in his Vite, the
Berruguete’s, in contrast, are often naked, for example his sensuous
their sumptuous robes is, however, two-dimensional rather than
saint’s anatomy was modelled from life on that of a servant of the
Eve illustrated in Rosario Coppel’s chapter (see fig. 44). The canons
three-dimensional like the applied gesso reliefs used by Gil de
Botti family, a family of Florentine merchants living in Spain.
themselves refused to judge who was the greater artist, placing the
following inscription at the front of the upper choir: “Compitieron
Siloe. Known as estofado, the technique used by Bigarny involved
scratching ornamental patterns into the painted surface to reveal
Bigarny’s adoption of Renaissance vocabulary only becomes fully
entonces los ingenios de los artifices y de la misma manera competirán siempre
traces of gilding underneath; this technique would remain a staple
apparent in the base of the unpolychromed alabaster tomb he
los juicios de los que examinen esta obra.” 71

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