Juan de Mesa_Master of Passion - Page 93

Fig. 60 Juan de Mesa, Saint Joseph Walking with the
Fig. 61 Juan de Mesa, Saint Joseph Walking
Fig. 62 Juan de Mesa, Saint Joseph Walking with
Infant Christ, 1615-1616, polychromed wood, Fuentes
with the Infant Christ, 1616, polychromed wood,
the Infant Christ, 1619-1620, polychromed wood,
de Andalucia, church of San José.
Cadiz, parish church of Villamartín.
Seville, college of the Sagrada Familia.
The two Mesa images differ in the form of the saint’s mantle. In
There are two further known contracts in which Juan de Mesa
the documented work Joseph’s mantle completely envelops him
was commissioned to execute other works on this subject in
under his right arm then crosses over his front obliquely to join up
carved cedar wood. The first, dated 4 April 1619, is for the
with the other end in his other hand. In the attributed image the
execution of an image of Saint Joseph Holding the Christ Child’s
mantle envelops the figure at breast height, concealing the right
Hand, “with a saw on his left arm”, commissioned by Diego de
arm, the end knotted over the shoulder in a manner undoubtedly
Herrera, a resident of Seville. No location is specified. This
inspired by the Roman sculpture of one of the Farnese Captives
work has not yet been identified. 5 According to the contract,
(Museo Nazionale, Naples).3
the artist was to be paid a large amount, 220 ducados (2,420
reales). This document cannot be associated with the present
During its recent restoration, the Saint Joseph Walking with the Christ
work as the image in question was to measure 7 cuartas in
Child in the chapel of the Colegio de la Sagrada Familia in Seville,
height without the base (146 cm), almost double the height of
was also attributed to Juan de Mesa (fig. 62). This image follows
the present example.
the one from the Carmelite convent in the arrangement of the
mantle knotted at the shoulder, but it also differs, in the formal
The second contract, dated 8 August 1620, is between the
features of the head. The fourth example of this subject by the
sculptor and Friar Francisco de la Cruz, a Barefoot Carmelite
Fig. 63 Juan de Mesa,
artist is the present work with Coll & Cortés in Madrid (fig. 63).
monk from the monastery of the Santo Ángel de la Guarda in
Saint Joseph, ca. 1620,
This sculpture lacks the figure of the Christ Child. Interestingly,
Seville. The image of Saint Joseph was to be a vara and a half high
polychromed wood,
this is a third variant with regard to the arrangement of the
including the base (125 cm) – making it smaller than the previous
Madrid, Coll & Cortés.
mantle and the dynamic pose.
one – and the price was lower at 100 ducados (1,100 reales).6


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