Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 22



A new Holy Family by the Spanish
Renaissance master Joan de Joanes
JOSÉ GÓMEZ FR EC H I NA
Joan Macip Navarro (Valencia (?), ca. 1500 – Bocairent,
1579), better known as Joan de Joanes, belonged to an
important dynasty of Valencian artists headed by his
father, the altarpiece painter Vicent Macip (ca. 1470 –
1551), and continued by his son Vicent Macip Comes
(ca. 1554 – ca. 1622). Following Joanes’s death in 1579,
Comes carried his father’s style into the early years of
the seventeenth century, in many cases directly copying
Joanes’s models, although producing works of lesser
quality.1 A newly-discovered example of a Holy Family
by Joan de Joanes, formerly at Colnaghi (fig. 1) presents
an excellent example of his unique style, brilliantly
synthesizing the visual legacy of Vicent Macip with
elements of the Flemish and Italian traditions.2
Over the past few years, research into sixteenth-century
Valencian painting has produced solid arguments based
on documentation that allow for a better definition of
the different phases of Joan de Joanes’s career while also
establishing the key characteristics of his individual and
unmistakable style. As a result it has been possible to
define a secure corpus of work by the artist, which was
until recently shrouded in uncertainty due to confusion
between the activities of his father, Vicent Macip, and his
son, Vicent Macip Comes, also known as Vicent Joanes.
Fig. 1 / Joan de Joanes,
Holy Family, oil on
panel, 58.5 x 49.5
cm, acquired from
Colnaghi in 2017 by
a Private Collector.
Vicent Macip married Isabel Navarro from Alacuás
in 1493. In the same year, Macip is mentioned for the
first time as a painter of altarpieces living in Valencia:
“Vincentius Macip, pictor retabilis Valentia vicinus.”3 Lack of
other documentary references to Vicent Macip led to
many years of confusion between his works and those
of his son, Joan Macip.
As a young man Joan de Joanes must have trained
in the studio of Vicent Macip, and together they
are documented in connection to various important
commissions in the second quarter of the sixteenth
century. Joanes’s style during this very early period
exhibits a Flemish quality that is explained in the
biography written by the Valencian painter and
canon Vicente Vitoria (1650-1709) which was first
cited in the art-historical literature by Bonaventura
Bassegoda.4 Vitoria comments on the similarity
between the Valencian artist’s works and those of
Raphael, referring to a supposed trip to Italy which
can now be almost certainly ruled out on the basis
of our more complete understanding of sixteenthcentury Valencian painting:
I am inclined to believe [of the
pupil I mean] that this Juan pupil
of Perugino is the same Valencian
that we commonly call Juanes who
is so esteemed in all of Spain for the
beauty of his works which seem to
be by the hand of Raphael himself,
in the line, colour, expression of
emotions and other elements, and I
can confirm this as he worked in the
same period that Vasari was writing
about, that it is the delicate style of
the school of Perugino and still more
tender and more correct in the outline
and more colourful than that of his
fellow followers, and he brought the
fine manner of painting to Spain.5

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