Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 30



30
J OA N D E J OA N E S / Holy Family
J OA N D E J OA N E S / Holy Family
Fig. 10 / Joan de Joanes,
Holy Family with Saint
Elizabeth and the Infant
Saint John the Baptist,
oil on panel, 92 x 78 cm,
Barcelona, Count of Valle
de Marlés Collection.
Fig. 11 / Joan de Joanes,
Holy Family with the
Saint Johns, oil on panel,
dimmensions unknown,
Madrid, Fernández López
Collection.
Fig. 9 / Joan de Joanes,
Saint Anne, the Virgin
and the Christ Child,
oil on panel, 41 x 50 cm,
Private Collection.
Stylistically comparable and close in date to the
Colnaghi picture is the upper section of the altarpiece
of Saint Sebastian, Saint Bruno and Saint Vicente Ferrer from
the charterhouse of Valldecrist in Altura (Castellón),
which depicts Saint Anne, the Virgin and the Christ Child
(fig. 9) (45 x 50 cm, Private Collection).29 Fray Joaquín
Lorenzo Villanueva included a description of this
altarpiece in his Viage Literario a las Iglesias de España
(1806), referring favourably to this panel:
These paintings are exceeded by
the topmost element of the altar, a
composition worthy of Raphael, in which
Saint Anne and the Holy Mary holding the
Christ Child in her arms are reading the
words written in a book which he points
out to them with his finger, and these are
quodcumque petieritis Patrem in nomine meo.30
In the Altura panel, the broad, Flemish-influenced
landscape, with its blueish tones, is strikingly close to
the one in the present Holy Family. Saint Anne recalls
the same figure in a work by Yáñez de la Almedina in
the parish church of San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro
Mártir, while the Christ Child ultimately derives from
Leonardo’s Virgin of the Yarnwinder.
Similar in terms of both quality and style is the Holy
Family with Saint Elizabeth and the Infant Saint John the
Baptist by Joanes in the collection of the Count of
Valle de Marlés in Barcelona (fig. 10).31 The Virgin
wears the same open-sleeved red dress, tied at the
waist with a knotted length of cloth, and an open
white chemise underneath. Here Joanes seems
preoccupied with expressing the work’s sentiment
through the figures’ gestures and gazes, with a careful
interplay of light and shadow.
Also in relation to the present work, mention should
be made of the slightly later Holy Family with the Saint
Johns (fig. 11) (Madrid, Fernández López Collection).32
This has a landscape including the pyramid of Cestius
in Rome, and in stylistic terms it can be directly
associated with the Portrait of Alfonso the Magnanimous
of 1557 in the museum in Saragossa and The Virgin
of the Venerable Agnesio in the Museo de Bellas Artes de
Valencia (see fig. 5).
The present Holy Family by Joanes should also be
compared to two further works by the painter from his
mature period: the Holy Family with the Infant Saint John
the Baptist, belonging to the City Council of Valencia
(fig. 12) (Museo de la Ciudad), and the Holy Family with
the Infant Saint John the Baptist in the Lladró Collection.
The first of these was originally in the parish church of
San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro Mártir in Valencia,33
where it was recorded by Settier in 1866.34 The pose
of the Christ Child, turning his head in contrapposto
and embracing the Cross, can also be seen in the Holy
Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist and Angels in
the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
(Madrid). As is the case with the picture from the
charterhouse of Valldecrist in Altura discussed above,
here the figure of Christ ultimately derives from
Leonardo’s Virgin of the Yarnwinder, known in Valencia
through copies by Fernando Llanos and Fernando
Yáñez de la Almedina. The figure types of the Virgin,
31
Saint John and the Christ Child resemble those in the
above-mentioned Virgin of the Venerable Agnesio, which
includes a similar landscape of distant, misty hills
beneath a pale-toned sky. An autograph copy of the
work by Joanes (fig. 13), now belonging to the City
Council of Valencia, is in the church of la Inmaculada
in Linares de Mora (Teruel).
Another Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist
(fig. 14) now in the Lladró Collection (Valencia,
Tavernes Blanques)35 was formerly in the collection
of the Marquis of Salamanca and described in the
catalogue of the sale of that collection in 1867: “The
Virgin holds the Christ Child who is blessing the infant
Saint John in adoration before him; behind [is] Saint
Joseph; the heads have haloes; background of a blueish
landscape.”36 Diego Angulo noted the Raphaelesque
influence in this panel, which recalls the Virgin of the Fish
and the Virgin of the Rose.37
The grace and complicity in the gazes exchanged by
the Christ Child and the infant Saint John recur in the
aforementioned works by Joanes in the collection of the
Count of Valle de Marlés and in Valencia Cathedral.
The iridescent material with highlights – typical of
the artist’s mature output and present here on the
Virgin’s sleeve – could have been taken by Joanes from
the Flemish tapestries by Van Orley which arrived in
Valencia in the first half of the sixteenth century.

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