Juan de Mesa_Master of Passion - Page 91

Saint Joseph
Ca. 1620
Carved and polychromed wood
71 x 36 x 28 cm
30 x 14 ½ x 11 in
José Luis Romero Torres
This sculpture represents the iconographic subject of Saint Joseph
Walking with the Christ Child, although the Christ Child is lacking and
the work now depicts the saint standing, his body in movement and
his hands gesturing as if to communicate with another figure. This
iconography was disseminated by the Barefoot Carmelite nuns in
the sixteenth century after it was promoted by Saint Teresa of Avila.
The saint has a face with features similar to those seen in various
male figures carved by the sculptor Juan de Mesa in the early 1620s.
Following the Council of Trent (1545-1563), Saint Joseph as the
protector of Christ in his infancy acquired notable importance.
During the seventeenth century this iconography evolved from the
saint as a protective figure to a more paternal, affectionate one.
The initial representation of Joseph with the Christ Child walking
next to him and holding his hand was gradually replaced by that of
the saint holding the Infant Christ in his arms, sometimes in tender
communication and in other examples playing with him.
The first documented sculpture by Juan de Mesa is the Saint Joseph
Walking with the Christ Child (155 cm) commissioned in 1615 by
Friar Alonso de la Concepción, a monk of the Barefoot branch
of the Mercedarians, for the monastery of San José in Fuentes de
Andalucía (Seville). This work is now in the parish church of Santa
María de las Nieves in the same village (fig. 60).1 In May 1616 the
artist was paid the 70 ducados for this work, which was later used by
the sculptor Francisco de Ocampo for his Saint Joseph Walking with
the Christ Child (1622) for the parish church of Villamartín (Cadiz).
A few years earlier, in around 1609-10, the convent of Saint Joseph
of the Carmelite or Teresian nuns in the Santa Cruz area of
Seville already had a devotional image of Saint Joseph Walking with
the Christ Child which has been attributed to Juan de Mesa (fig. 61).2


Powered by

Full screen Click to read
Paperturn flipbook system
Download as PDF
Shopping cart
Full screen
Exit full screen