Juan de Mesa_Master of Passion - Page 55

This alteration has changed the saint’s expression as his eyes were
history of Spanish sculpture. It adds a further work to the corpus of
undoubtedly originally turned upwards. The other figure by Mesa
one of our most important early seventeenth-century artists, one of
with glass eyes is the Cristo de la Conversión in the parish church of
the key figures to introduce realism into Sevillian sculpture in this
Santa María Magdalena in Seville; here again, the eyes were added
period. The work’s formal features allow it to be attributed to Juan
in the early nineteenth century during the restoration of the work
de Mesa and dated to the 1620s when it may have been executed
by the sculptor Juan de Astorga.
for the chapel of the French Nation in the conventual church of
San Francisco de Asís in Seville. The closure of religious houses by
For all the above reasons, this magnificent sculpture of Saint Louis of
the French during the Napoleonic period (1808-1814) may have
France is of outstanding artistic and iconographic importance for the
resulted in this work passing into private hands.
José Roda Peña, Pedro Roldán, escultor, 1624-1699 (Madrid: Editorial Arco Libros,
2012), p. 340.
María Teresa Dabrio González, Los Ribas. Un taller andaluz de escultura del siglo XVII
(Cordoba: Monte de Piedad, 1985), p. 514, fig. 171; Francisco Herrera, “Iglesia
de los Terceros,” in El Retablo barroco sevillano, eds. Fatima Halcón, Francisco Herrera,
and Álvaro Recio (Seville: Universidad Sevilla y Fundación El Monte, 2000), p. 300.
Louis Réau, Iconografía del arte cristiano. Iconografía de los santos. (Barcelona: Ediciones
Serbal, 1997-2001), vol. 3, pp. 274-279.
Fig. 43 Juan de Mesa, Cristo de la Misericordia, 1622, polychromed wood, Seville, convent of Santa Isabel.
Fernando Marías, El Greco. Biografía de un pintor extravagante (Madrid: Nerea, 1997),
pp. 262, 266.
Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Benito Navarrete Prieto, Luis Tristán (ca.15851624) (Madrid: Real Fundación de Toledo & Fundación BBVA, 2001), p. 238.
(1618-1620) for the collegiate church of El Salvador in Seville (see
(appearing for example in all his renditions of the Crucified
fig. 30); in the Jesús del Gran Poder (1620) in the Basilica del Gran
Christ), as is the manner of carving the beard at the point
Poder in Seville (see fig. 1); in the Cristo de la Buena Muerte (1621) in
where it emerges from the chin. With the probable intention of
Madrid cathedral (see fig. 48 below); in the Cristo de la Misericordia
el Convento de San Francisco Casa Grande de Sevilla,” Laboratorio de Arte 18 (2005):
differentiating himself from Martínez Montañés, Juan de Mesa
(see fig. 43); and in the Cristo de la Agonía (1622) for the church of
pp. 241-242. This author considers that the chapel’s contents were lost in the fire of
carved some of his beards with a characteristically bulbous form
San Pedro de Ariznoa in Bergara (Guipúzcoa) (see fig. 32).
Sevilla, metrópolis de la Andalucía, 1796 ed. (Madrid: 1796), vol. 5, p. 19; María José del
Castillo y Utrilla, El Convento de San Francisco, Casa Grande de Sevilla (Seville: Diputación,
1988), pp. 102-103; María José del Castillo y Utrilla, “Capillas de las Naciones en
1650, although for Ortiz de Zúñiga the fire of that date caused the collapse of the
crossing and the destruction of the chapel of the Basque Nation.
in the area between the lower lip and the chin, the ends coming
Diego Ortiz de Zúñiga, Anales eclesiásticos y seculares de la muy noble y muy leal ciudad de
arranged in clusters that fall down in waves – is also characteristic
together before bifurcating into the two-part lower beard. This
The present Saint Louis of France has a glass eye added during
device is present in the artist’s first documented work, Saint Joseph
restoration undertaken in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth
Walking with the Christ Child (1615-1616) for the parish church
century: both Martínez Montañés and Juan de Mesa painted the
Fig. 44 Juan de Mesa, Saint Joseph Walking with the Infant Christ (detail), 1615-
in Fuentes de Andalucía (Seville) (fig. 44); in his Cristo del Amor
eyes of their sculptures onto the wood.
1616, polychromed wood, Fuentes de Andalucia, church of San José.
Del Castillo and Utrilla, “Capillas de las Naciones,” p. 242.


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