Juan de Mesa_Master of Passion - Page 108

Fig. 75 Juan de Mesa, Cristo de la Agonía, wedge-shaped piece between
Fig. 76 Juan de Mesa, Cristo de la Agonía, detail of neck and additional
two large pieces which form the torso.
piece with beard and face.
The figure is made of cedar (Cedreia odorata), as shown by the
The block is made as follows: one large piece is set up frontally,
results of laboratory analysis on a sample taken from the rear
forming the volume of the neck, back of the head, torso and front
of the loincloth. A sample was also taken from the wood of the
of the loincloth, the left thigh and part of the right thigh. Another
cross which was found to be Quercus robur, or oak as it is generally
piece is added to this large piece, joined on seamlessly from the
known. The whole volume of the figure of Christ is made up of an
rear and forming the volume of the figure’s back, part of the
assembly of a series of wooden pieces, joined together by adhesives
loincloth, the back area of the left leg and part of the right foot
and some metal reinforcing nails, placed where the pieces of the
(see fig. 73). Reinforcing the joint between these two pieces, front
volumes of the back and arms join.
and back, are several iron spikes – eight around the line joining the
back, five joining several pieces of the loincloth and six on the rear
The space between the neck and the beginning of the left thigh
surface of the left leg.
is hollow (fig. 74). X-ray images show that the walls of the figure
Fig. 74 Juan de Mesa, Cristo de la Agonía, X-Ray showing hollow.
are fairly thin, less than 5 cm in the perimeter of the torso, and
As well as these two large blocks of wood, smaller pieces are
also how many of the pieces making up the block are arranged.
joined on to make up other volumes, such as the right knee, the
These pieces are usually joined lengthways, except for the arms,
knot of the loincloth and some parts of the folds in the loincloth.
which are carved separately and joined to the rest of the block at
On the right side of the neck, too, a V-shaped piece can be
shoulder height. These joints are made by thick pegs carved from
made out. Another feature of the construction of the sculptural
the same piece of wood as the arm.
block is that Mesa sometimes places a thin wedge-shaped piece


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