Alonso Berruguete, Reinassance Sculptor - Page 54



In terms of alabaster, the first documented sculpture by Alfonso
wood sculpture for which he came to be most famous. The
Berruguete – the funerary monument of Selvagio – was made
production of these sculptures in wood involved a good deal of
in collaboration with Bigarny who had previously worked in this
painting: Berruguete used polychromy not just to complement
material at Burgos Cathedral. The patrons’ choice of this alabaster
his work but as an integral part of the composition. Through
was may have been influenced by the altarpiece of the high altar
polychromy he was able to make his figures more powerful, often
in the basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Saragossa, recently
turning them into heavenly beings, and this became a defining
completed by the “Master of Alabaster,” Damián Forment (fig. 53);
element of his style.
it may have been this work, too, which inspired Berruguete in
his early days, as seen in the relief of the Piedad in the chapel of
Finally, in the sepulchre of Cardinal Tavera – in which he used
Cigarral de Menores, Toledo, dated to ca. 1520 (fig. 54).
the medium considered the most noble at that time, Carrara
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marble – Berruguete showed that he had reached the heights of his
It is a shame that almost all of the sculptures that made up
predecessors, Fancelli, Ordóñez, Forment and Siloe. In his work
Selvagio’s tomb have been lost. According to Jusepe Martínez, they
the figures are more serene, in accordance with the required canon
Fig. 53. Damián Forment,
were admirable.41 This means that Berruguete had experienced a
of classical beauty, but without abandoning the most characteristic
Pietà, Retable on the main
phase in his sculptural development that is as yet unknown, and
facet of his personal style, the great expressivity that he was able to
altar, Huesca Catherdal.
which facilitated his adoption of techniques in the polychrome
instil in each of his sculptures.42
Fig. 54. Alonso Berruguete,
Pietà, Capilla del Cigarral
de Menores, Toledo.
Fig. 51. Alonso Berruguete, Saint Mark, Retable
on the main altar of San Benito el Real (Valladolid),
Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid.
Fig. 52. Alonso Berruguete, Thamar,
choirstalls, Toledo Cathedral.
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