Alonso Berruguete, Reinassance Sculptor - Page 40

Fig. 29. Bastiano da Sangallo, Copy of the central part of the Battle of Cascina, Holkham Hall, Norfolk.
Fig. 30. Jacopo Sansovino, Laocoon and his sons,
Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
that was left incomplete upon the death of Filippino Lippi, the
The Laocoön had been discovered in Rome during excavations
church of San Petronio,8 and immediately afterwards was obliged
Coronation of the Virgin for the Franciscans of San Girolamo sulla
four years beforehand, in January 1506. The reappearance of the
to paint the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. By
Costa, which currently hangs in the Louvre. There are other
sculpture was a major event: it was immediately recognized as being
1516, Michelangelo had completed the Dying Slave and the Rebel
extant paintings that can also be attributed to him, all of a religious
the group described by Pliny. For Berruguete to participate in the
Slave (fig. 31), the impressive statue of Moses, and the frescoes on
nature except for the final one (Salomé, now in the Galleria degli
competition, even though he was not to win, was the opportunity to
the vault of the Sistine Chapel.9
Uffizi, Florence),4 as well as a series of drawings demonstrating his
create a sculptural model on a large scale, – perhaps his first –, and
level of skill in this discipline.
to enter into contact with the great artists of the time.
All of the above, combined with the influence of Raphael –
especially of his paintings in the Vatican Stanze10 – and the strong
Fig. 31. Michelangelo, Rebel slave, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
In light of all this, it is surprising to see Alonso Berruguete move
In 1505, Pope Julius II called Michelangelo to Rome to oversee
personality that was Leonardo, laid the foundations of Modern Art.
to Rome in 1510 to take part in the competition to make a life-
the design and construction of his mausoleum. It was an
This is what Berruguete experienced and absorbed in Italy, and
sized wax copy of the Laocoön and his sons. As the competition
ambitious project that was initially destined for the basilica
it was in stark contrast to the artistic landscape he found when he
was organized by Bramante – who had known Alonso’s father at
of Saint Peter and would have incorporated more than forty
returned to his own country. As was brilliantly observed by Gómez-
Nevertheless, competition in Rome must have been very strong.
Urbino some years beforehand – it has been suggested that Alonso
monumental statues. It is well known that Michelangelo was at
Moreno in his pioneering publication on Bartolomé Ordóñez,
Berruguete must surely have thought, with all the experience
might have been personally invited by Bramante who wanted
first very enthusiastic about this colossal project which would
Diego Siloe, Pedro Machuca and Alonso Berruguete – artists whom
he had gained, that it would be easier to make his life in Spain
to introduce him to the artistic circles of the city. Such circles
ultimately cause him so much frustration. Under the orders of this
he called, following Francisco de Holanda, águilas or eagles – the
than to stay in a country where success required genius. This
included Jacopo Sansovino, who won the competition thanks to
strong-willed pope – fickle perhaps on account of the tumultuous
character of Spanish art at that time was defined by the survival of
situation ultimately caused him to make the decision to return,
Raphael who was part of the jury along with Zaccheria Zachi da
political environment in which he lived – Michelangelo moved to
the medieval, the fundamental Catholicism of the Renaissance in
even though, after so many years abroad, this would not be an
Volterra and Ercole Procaccini, il Vecchio da Bologna (fig. 30).
Bologna in 1506 to work on a bronze statue for the façade of the
Spain, and the rejection of Italian sensuality and paganism.
easy path.

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