Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 56



Luis Quijada: Pompeo Leoni’s Portrait of a Knight
of the Order of Alcántara or Calatrava Identified
ROSAR IO COPPEL
In 2013 the current author published a study of an
alabaster bust of an unknown sitter by Pompeo Leoni
(ca. 1533 – Madrid, 1608) (figs. 1, 2a & 2b). Initial
research led me to two prominent contemporary figures:
Luis de Ávila, Marquis of Mirabel, who was close to the
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and Diego Hurtado de
Mendoza, a diplomat for the Spanish Crown. Both men
collected sculpture, both were evidently admirers of the
Leonis’ art, and both belonged to the Order of Alcántara
or Calatrava: one of the few clues left by the artist was the
cross of these military orders carved on the breastplate.1
Fig. 1 / Pompeo Leoni,
D. Luis Quijada, 1565
(?), portrait bust,
alabaster, Private
Collection.
My recent acquaintanceship with a painted portrait
in the collegiate church of San Luis at Villagarcía de
Campos (Valladolid) has led me to link the bust instead
to another figure from the same period. This article
will argue that the subject of Leoni’s bust is not Luis de
Ávila or Diego Hurtado de Menodza, but Luis Quijada
(ca. 1515-1570). Luis Quixada – as he was known at
the time – belonged to a traditional military family. His
grandfather, also called Luis Quijada, served under the
Catholic Monarchs and his father, Gutierre Quijada,
fought on Charles V’s side in the War of the Comuneros.
This family history accounts for his entry into the
imperial entourage at a very young age, around 1522.
Serving first as a page, then as soldier and steward, Luis
eventually became one of Charles V’s closest and most
beloved counsellors, accompanying him on military
expeditions to Africa, Germany, Italy, France, and
Flanders, and in his final move to the monastery at Yuste.
He married Magdalena de Ulloa (1525-1598) in 1549
and settled in his hometown, Villagarcía de Campos,
in a castle-palace (now in ruins), fifty-three km from
Valladolid. He and his wife took charge of the education
of Juan of Austria, (the natural son of the Emperor and
Bárbara Blombergh) who lived in Villagarcía de Campos
for five years until the boy was taken to Cuacos de Yuste,
his father wishing to be close to him in his final retreat.2
The facts of Luis Quijada’s biography are scant.
Even his birthdate is unknown although, according
to Magdalena de Ulloa, he served at court for forty
years, and as he died in 1570 he must have been born
around 1515. In 1534 he entered the Military Order of
Calatrava at the lowest rank, Obrero Mayor.3 A year later,
in 1535, he took part in the expedition to Tunisia as a
captain. In 1549, he had to marry by proxy, being away
in Flanders at the time, and the marriage was not made
known in Valladolid until one year later.
After Charles V’s death, Philip II continued to keep Luis
Quijada close to his side, appointing him equerry to
his heir, Prince D. Carlos, and tutor to Juan of Austria
in 1559. Soon afterwards he was made Infantry FieldMarshal, in 1564 was awarded the honorary Encomienda
del Moral, and later he became a member of the Council
of State for War. In 1568 Quijada was appointed
President of the General Council for the Indias, a
position he never took up since he died on 25 February
1570 of wounds sustained during the Alpujarras revolt
– fighting for Juan of Austria, who, at only twentythree, was already Captain General of the Navy.
Two years after his death, in 1572, Magdalena de
Ulloa, carrying out her husband’s wish for a foundation
to receive his tomb, ordered the building of the

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