Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 190



188
Onofre Falcó, a Spanish Renaissance master
Onofre Falcó, a Spanish Renaissance master
Another work of particular importance which should
now be attributed to Onofre Falcó is the Virgin of
Montserrat with Donors (fig. 12). It has a cartouche with
the date “1549” and an inscription referring to the
donor, Nofre Joan Rios: “ALAOR DE NOSTRE
SENOR DEV E DE LA SVA BENEYTA MARE/
FONC FET LO PRESET RETAVLE PER
LONRAT EN NOFRE/JOAN RIOS NATVRAL
DEL PNT LOC ANY MDXXXXVIIII.” The work
must have disappeared from the parish church of
Quart de Poblet during the Civil War and is now only
known through a photograph.22 The Virgin’s halo has
straight rays terminating in a cross alternating with
Fig. 10 / Onofre Falcó (attributed
here), Saints Abdon and Sennen, oil
on panel, Photo Hauser y Menet
(Información Artística-Junta
Tesoro), Instituto del Patrimonio
Cultural de España, MCD.
Fig. 11 / Onofre Falcó (attributed
here), Saint John the Baptist, oil
on panel, Private Collection.
Fig. 12 / Onofre Falcó (attributed
here), Virgin of Montserrat with
Donors, 1549, oil on panel, Photo
Archivo Amattler, Parish of Quart
de Poblet (present location
unknown).
A painting of Saints Abdon and Sennen (fig. 10), wearing
turbans and royal crowns and with sceptres, is here
attributed to Onofre Falcó on the basis of its particular
characteristics. In a photograph in the Instituto del
Patrimonio Cultural de España the painting is listed
as “Oriental Martyrs”, in the collection of the Count
of Rivella (no. 17), and given to an anonymous artist.21
The two plate-shaped haloes (unusual in Falcó’s
oeuvre) have the same type of burin work as the two
panels of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Mammes of
Caesarea, for which reason it can be assumed that they
were from the same altarpiece about which nothing
else is known.
189
undulating rays, also present in a Crucifixion attributed
to Falcó by Lorenzo Hernández Guardiola,23 and in an
Annunciation (discussed further below) in the Museo de
Bellas Artes de Valencia.
Mercedes Gómez-Ferrer has considerably expanded
and clarified the information found in documents and
sources referring to Onofre Falcó and members of his
Valencian family of artists.24 Onofre must have trained
in the workshop of his father, Nicolás Falcó. Active
in the region of Valencia between 1493 and 1530,
Nicolás’s extant works include the Puridad (Valencia,
Museo del Bellas Artes) and various paintings on cloth
on Marian themes and of episodes from the life of
Saint Martin for the chapel of the Armourers’ Guild
in Valencia Cathedral.25
On the basis of a payment for carpentry designs in
the chapel of the Kings in the monastery of Santo
Domingo (a celebrated commission associated with
Mencía de Mendoza), Gómez Ferrer identified Falcó’s
activity there prior to his completion of the Crucifixion
Altarpiece for Santos Juanes (dated 1538).26 In early
1538, Onofre Falcó and Paulo Rigo signed a contract
to paint an altarpiece dedicated to Our Lady of the
Rosary in the monastery of Santo Domingo.27 A year
later Falcó’s involvement with various projects at the
Hospital General is recorded in several documents:
these included painting a curtain on the subject of the
Virgin of the Assumption and the Mocking of Christ.28
Saint John the Baptist (fig. 11), painted on a panel reused
from an earlier altarpiece (as is clear from the fact that
there is a painting on the reverse), can also be attributed
to Falcó and reveals his characteristic stylistic traits.
Shown seated, the Baptist looks at the viewer while
pointing with his index figure to his attribute, the Lamb
resting on the book.
In 1542, Falcó paid a tax of 10 sueldo, the so-called
“tacha real,” when he was living in the parish of San
Martín in Valencia.29 In 1547 he paid another 18
sueldos, making him the artist who paid the highest tax
in the city which in itself indicates the importance of
his studio. The activities of Onofre Falcó’s workshop
can be gleaned from the inventory of its contents
published by Gómez-Ferrer. This also reveals
that the artist owned books, portraits and musical
instruments.30

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