Juan de Mesa_Master of Passion - Page 29

as Hiernoymus Wierix’s Ignatius Loyola has a Vision of the Trinity
from around the same time. Although nothing is documented
about Montañés’s own collection of working models, he is thought
to have had access to the collection of Andrés de Ocampo whose
nephew, Francisco, worked with Montañés on several occasions.52
According to Elena Escuredo Barrado, Montañés certainly
knew the prints in the Jesuit Jérôme Nadal’s Evangelicae Historiae
Imagines, published in 1594.53
In 1612 Montañés joined forces with Diego López Bueno to
construct an altarpiece for the Franciscan Monastery of Nuestra
Fig. 25 Juan Martínez
Señora de Gracia at Villamanrique de la Condesa, ordered by
Montañés, Tomb of Alonso
the Marchioness Beatriz de Zúñiga y Velasco.54 The work, which
Pérez de Guzmán (detail),
1609, polychromed wood,
was finished within one year, included hollow cedar sculptures of
Santiponce, Monasterio de
Saints Francis, Louis of France, Anthony of Padua, and Diego of Alcalá
San Isidoro del Campo.
which were carved in the round and placed within niches. In 1617
and 1618 the sculptor commenced work on two small retables
Fig. 26 Juan Martínez
for the charterhouse of Santa María de las Cuevas, returning to
Montañés, Saint Ignatius
the project in 1621 to make sculptures of the Virgin and Child and
Loyola,1610, polychromed
Saint John the Baptist. In the end it was not Montañés who finished
wood, Seville, Universidad
these sculptures but Juan de Mesa who, in 1623, signed another
de Sevilla, church of La
contract for a much lower sum.55
This would mark the start of a difficult period for Montañés
with the death of his sister and close associates (including, a
few years later, Juan de Mesa) as well as several court cases.
This sculpture of a young girl recalls the description of “a girl of
soon afterwards forbidding people to speak out against it, the
master in the production of the main altarpiece and kneeling
Nevertheless, Montañés went on to produce many more
twelve or thirteen years, a very beautiful child” in Pacheco’s Arte de
Congregación fell foul of the Inquisition in 1624 when it was
figures of the founders at San Isidoro del Campo from 1609 to
important works before his death, including the much-loved
Pintura,50 and it provided the model for later works such as the figure
suspected of Alumbradism, a mystical movement equated with
1613 (fig. 25). In 1610 Montañés was commissioned to produce
Immaculate Conception in Seville Cathedral known as La Cieguecita
by Juan de Mesa included in this catalogue.
heresy. Ironically these suspicions related to the discovery in
a sculpture of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society
(the Blind Girl, on account of the Virgin’s eyes which appear to
members’ homes of copies of Saint John of the Cross’s Dark
of Jesus who had been beatified in 1609 (fig. 26). Ignatius was
be shut) (see fig. 57). His renown was such that in 1635 he was
Given Montañés’s membership of the Congregación de la
Night of the Soul, a text instructing its readers to meditate upon the
one of several heroes of the Counter-Reformation whose
called to Madrid (making his only extended trip away from
Granada, he must have considered the Inmaculada a work of
sufferings of Christ, and encouraging – as did the Council of Trent
beatification and canonization led to the production of sculptures
Seville) to produce a clay maquette for Pietro Tacca’s bronze
particular importance. Mateo Vázquez de Leca, the priest
– the use of visual objects of devotion by individuals embarking on
by Montañés and Mesa. These works – like the kneeling figures
of Philip IV. This episode was recorded by Velázquez in a
Bernardo de Toro, and the tailor Miguel Cid wrote a song about
their spiritual journey.
at San Isidoro – reflect an increasing interest in portraiture,
painting which is not only one of the most important records
shared by artists and patrons, relating to notions of skill, status
of a seventeenth-century Spanish artist at work, but also
the mystery which became so popular that in 1615 200,000 people
took to the city’s streets to sing it in a massive demonstration
It was also in 1606 that Montañés took on Juan de Mesa as his
and commemoration. The apparently realistic portrait of Loyola
dignifies the sculptor with status equivalent to that of his painter
of support for the doctrine.51 Although Paul V issued a decree
apprentice. Mesa would be one of two sculptors assisting the
(which stood at 1.74 m high) must have been based on a print such
contemporaries (fig. 27).


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