Juan de Mesa_Master of Passion - Page 83



The appearance of an unknown and unpublished sculpture of
the type presented here is very rare, even in Spain. The image
corresponds clearly to the model characteristic of Juan Martínez
Montañés before his sublime Cieguecita, following the earlier
Inmaculada del Pedroso (Immaculate Virgin of el Pedroso) (fig. 58).4
This model was being developed simultaneously, in Spain
and the New World, by disciples and followers including Juan
de Mesa, Francisco de Ocampo, Gaspar de la Cueva, Pedro
de Noguera, Luis Ortiz de Vargas, and Jacinto Pimentel. The
proximity of the work presented here to that of the master points
to the first two, particularly to Montañés’s most accomplished
disciple, the Cordoban Juan de Mesa. This sculptor had a huge
following on account of his figures of the Crucified Christ – such
as the Cristo de la Buena Muerte and the Cristo de Bergara (see figs.
48 and 32) – and of Christ Carrying the Cross – the Jesús del
Gran Poder (see fig. 1). 5
Mesa died young, unlike his long-lived master, and his most
distinctive works were produced in little more than fifteen years
– between 1610 and 1627 – accentuating the importance of the
new sculpture presented here. As the original location of the work
presented here is unknown, it is appropriate to compare it to the
documented works of the artist such as the Inmaculada in Seville’s
Carmelite convent of San José (ca. 1610) (fig. 59); the Virgen de la
Misericordia (Our Lady of Mercy) from the hospital of Antezana in
Alcalá de Henares (1611); and the Virgin and Child in the Museo
de Bellas Artes of Seville (ca. 1623) (see fig. 28). Its composition is
frontal and majestic, distinguishing it from some of Montañés’s
Fig. 58 Juan Martinez
creations in which the head is inclined and slightly turned in an
Montañés, Inmaculada, 1606-
attitude of grace and modesty. This is attitude is confirmed by
1608, polychromed wood,
the joined hands, in alignment with the head, the frontality only
Seville, church of Nuestra
modified by the contrapposto of the bent right leg and, above all,
Señora de la Consolacíon
the fluidity of the drapery – all this constituting the essence of the
Fig. 59 Juan de Mesa, Inmaculada, ca. 1610, polychromed wood,
(El Pedroso).
Baroque sacred icon.
Seville, convent of San José.
89

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