Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 187



184
Onofre Falcó, a Spanish Renaissance master
Onofre Falcó, a Spanish Renaissance master
There is a notable stylistic similarity between the panel
of the Ordination of Saint Stephen in the Museo Nacional
del Prado and a Penitent Saint Jerome (fig. 5) which the
present author published as by Onofre Falcó, noting
that it follows a drawing by Francesco Salviati in the
Musée du Louvre.17 It is possible that drawings by
Salviati were introduced into Valencia by his follower
Pedro Rubiales who is documented in 1540 working in
the city on an altarpiece for the convent of La Puridad.
A previously unpublished panel depicting Saint Jerome
and Saint John the Baptist in a Landscape (fig. 6) can now
be added to the body of works attributed to Onofre
Falcó. The Church Father is shown in profile with the
same long grey beard seen in the Penitent Saint Jerome,
and in both cases with his cardinal’s hat hanging from a
branch. The penitent saint is depicted in the desert with
a skull and crucifix, beating his breast with a stone. The
open book may allude to the Vulgate, while the lion,
from whose paw, according to legend, Jerome removed
a thorn, is depicted resting at his feet. Accompanying
this saint, an adult John the Baptist holding a simple
reed cross is dressed in a camel hair shirt and cloak.
With his right hand he points to the lamb from which
golden rays emanate: “Here is the Lamb of God
that taketh away the sins of the world.” Notably
characteristic of Falcó’s style are John’s strong, bare feet
defined with the firm line which is present in many of
his works.
Fig. 5 / Onofre Falcó, Penitent
Saint Jerome, oil on panel, 200 x
200 cm, Private Collection.
Fig. 6 / Onofre Falcó (attributed
here), Saint Jerome and Saint
John the Baptist in a Landscape,
oil on panel, Private Collection.
Fig. 7 / Onofre Falcó, Altarpiece
of the Crucifixion or "De la
Sangre" ("of the Blood"), 1538,
oil on panel, 292 x 145 cm,
Valencia, parish of the Saints
Juanes de Estivella.
Crucial for defining the chronology of Falcó’s work is
the altarpiece of The Crucifixion or “De la Sangre” (“Of the
Blood”) in the church of Santos Juanes, Estivella, which
is dated 1538 (fig. 7).18 Like other Valencian examples
of the period, it features a three-dimensional figure of
Christ against a painted background. The altarpiece
depicts the Seven Sacraments, inspired by the work by
Fray Bonifacio Ferrer formerly in the Charterhouse
of Porta Coeli in Starnina (now Valencia, Museo de
Bellas Artes). The Sacraments open like windows in a
circle on either side of Christ’s Cross, with Extreme
Unction shown at his feet. On the original frame is an
inscription from the penitential Psalm 50 known as
the Miserere mei Deus. Above Christ in the semi-circular
uppermost register, God the Father is depicted with
the orb and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.
The predella has five compartments, with Christ as the
Man of Sorrows in the centre, and Saint Francis receiving
185

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