Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 24



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J OA N D E J OA N E S / Holy Family
J OA N D E J OA N E S / Holy Family
Leaving aside Vitoria’s inaccuracies, his account is notable
for the reference to Juan Malbó, who can be identified
as the Flemish artist Jan Gossaert (ca. 1478-1532), also
known as Mabuse on account of his signature, “Joannes
Malbodius” referring to his native Maubeuge.7
The presence of works by Gossaert and other Flemish
artists in Valencia can be traced to Mencía de Mendoza
(1508-1554), daughter of the Marquis of Zenete, whose
first marriage in 1524 was to the Flemish noble Henry III,
Count of Nassau-Breda (1483-1538), first chamberlain
to the Emperor Charles V. After her husband’s death,
Mencía returned to Valencia where in 1541 she married
Fernando de Aragón, Duke of Calabria and Viceroy of
Valencia (1488-1550), himself a widower following the
death of his first wife, Germana de Foix.
Fig. 2 / Sebastiano
del Piombo, The
Lamentation (central
panel of the Vich
Triptych), 1516, oil on
canvas transferred from
wood, 260 x 193 cm,
Saint Petersburg, The
Hermitage Museum.
Equally interesting is Vitoria’s paragraph offering
information on the young artist’s training:
[…] his father decided to bring him to
Valencia, the capital of that kingdom,
at the age of fourteen and sent him to
learn painting in the house of a Flemish
painter named Juan Malbó who
followed the same style as that of the
school of Albrecht Dürer, and we see by
his hand two heads of the Saviour and a
Holy Virgin in the Sacristy of the parish
church of San Estevan, and a mother of
God with the naked Christ Child in her
arms, on which is written his name and
the year of 1531.6
one in 1535 after the altarpiece was finished. One
of these payments refers to Joan Macip, to whom
the Chapter of Segorbe paid 10 libras: “to the son of
master Vicent Macip, painter […] for payment for the
altarpiece.”10
In 1664, the Catalonian nobleman, Francisco
Villagrasa referred to the altarpiece on the high altar in
Segorbe Cathedral, commissioned by the city’s bishop,
Fray Gilaberto Martí, as a work by “Ioannes.”11 This
attribution was repeated by the eighteenth-century
writers on art, Antonio Ponz12 and Marcos Antonio
Orellana.13 The reattribution of the Segorbe altarpiece
to Vicent Macip is based on a document discovered in
1808 by Father Villanueva which identifies the creator
of the work as Macip the Elder, who was paid a total
of 16,000 sueldos between 1529 and 1535.14 Using this
information, in Varios estudios de artes y letras (1902), Elías
Tormo reattributed to Vicent Macip the paintings for
the Segorbe altarpiece given to Joanes in the early
sources.15 Tormo compiled a core group of works
close to the altarpiece and used them to define Vicent
Macip’s style and body of work. His arguments were
rightly questioned by Fernando Benito, who identified
the so-called Master of Cabanyes as Vicent Macip. This
scholar also reattributed many of the works previously
considered to represent Vicent’s mature period to the
young Joan Macip.16 Ximo Company and Lluís Tolosa
have also subsequently attributed works previously
given to Vicent Macip to Joan de Joanes.17
Joanes’s innovative style in the context of painting in
Valencia in this period can also be explained by the
presence there of various works by Sebastiano del Piombo
(1485-1547), brought from Italy by Jerónimo Vich y
Valterra, the ambassador of Ferdinand the Catholic
in Rome and subsequently of Charles V.8 The works
by Piombo displayed in Vich’s residence were a Christ
Carrying the Cross (Madrid, Museo del Prado) and a triptych
representing The Lamentation (Saint Petersburg, Hermitage
Museum) (fig. 2) in the central panel, with the Descent into
Limbo (Madrid, Museo del Prado) and Christ Appearing to
the Apostles on the lateral wings; the latter panel is now lost
but is known from various copies by Francisco Ribalta.
In 1993 Fernando Benito convincingly identified the
artist previously known as the Master of Cabanyes
– a name used in the literature for an anonymous
artist active in Valencia in the early sixteenth century
– as Vicent Macip, providing an opportunity for a
reconstruction of that artist’s pictorial oeuvre.9 The
polyptych adorning the high altar of the cathedral of
Segorbe (near Valencia) (fig.3) has proved the critical
work for distinguishing between the styles of Vicent
Macip and his son Joan. Documents refer to payments
to Vicent Macip between 1529 and 1531 and another
Fig. 3 / Joan de Joanes,
The Resurrection (detail)
(panel from the high altar
of Segorbe Cathedral),
ca. 1530-1535, oil on
panel, Segorbe, Museo
Catedralicio de Segorbe.
Most of the panels that make up the altarpiece
dedicated to the Virgin in Segorbe Cathedral can be
securely attributed to Joan de Joanes on the basis of a
stylistic comparison with the surviving panels from the
altarpiece of Saint Eligius, (fig. 4) executed by Joanes
for the parish church of Santa Catalina in Valencia in
1534.18 Only two panels from the Sergobe altarpiece,
The Ascension and Christ on the Road to Calvary, which are
clearly influenced by Paolo de Leocadio, are executed
in Vicent Macip’s quattrocento style.19
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