Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 19

A similar pattern of exchange of influence can be found in
Joan de Burgunya’s Resurrected Christ Appearing to his Mother with
Fig. 3. Leonardo da
Vinci, Study for a Christ
Carrying the Cross, ca.
1490, metalpoint on
pale gray-blue prepared
paper, 11.6 x 9.1 cm,
Venice, Gallerie
Old Testament Fathers (ca. 1520, cat. no. 2). Flemish by birth,
Burgunya was active in Valencia where he must have come
in contact with a Spanish-Italianate style that evolved from
the local presence of works by Italian artists and stylistic traits
imported by Iberian artists who travelled to Italy, like the
Hernandos (discussed below).5 In Joan de Burgunya’s frieze-like,
crowded composition, the Valencian tradition of polychrome
sculpture is combined with figures reminiscent of Italian models
in the work of Dürer, and possibly known to Morales through
in the sculptural treatment of anatomy.
prints. At the same time, Morales’s composition derives from the
Veneto-Roman painter Sebastiano del Piombo’s Christ Carrying the
In both Spain and Italy, the Counter-Reformation led to a
Cross (fig. 2), which had a profound influence on Spanish artists
revaluation of religious art and a renewed emphasis on the
following its arrival in Valencia with the artist’s patron Jerónimo
efficacy of devotional images. While often influenced by foreign
Vich, Spanish ambassador to the papal court between 1507-
models, Spanish artists in the period developed their own
1521.8 Morales’s palette also seems informed by a Leonardesque
distinctive approach to pietistic imagery. The intense spiritual
sfumato, a technique imported to Spain and characteristic of
drama that characterizes the work of Luis de Morales reflects
the work of the early sixteenth-century Valencian painters
a Spanish response to Erasmus’s theology and the northern
known as the Hernandos, Fernando Yáñez and Fernando
European Devotio Moderna, which preached humility and devout
Llanos. These two artists appear to have travelled to Italy and
contemplation of “Divine Mysteries”. Dubbed “the Divine” on
probably both worked under Leonardo in Florence around
account of his poignant treatments of Christian subjects, Morales
1505.9 Their versions of Christ Carrying the Cross (cat. nos. 4 & 5),
was mainly active in Badajoz (near the Portuguese border) in the
present dramatic, theatrical interpretations of a composition
central decades of the century, and was patronized by individuals
invented by Leonardo da Vinci (fig. 3), while also responding to
associated with the Spanish mystical movement, notably Juan de
the sinuous forms of Valencian sculpture. Another Valencian
Ribera, a prominent religious figure in post-Tridentine Spain and
artist included here, the Maestro de Alzira, may have been the
the illegitimate son of the 1 Duke of Alcalá, viceroy of Naples
son of a sculptor, and his work equally achieves volume through
and a major collector about whom more shall be said below.
painterly strategies. In his Holy Family with the Infant Saint John (cat.
Fig. 2. Sebastiano del Piombo, Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1516, oil on canvas,
121 x 100 cm, Madrid, Museo del Prado.
no. 6), figures are sculpted through light and chiaroscuro devices
Morales’s Ecce Homo (cat. no. 3), published here for the first time,
that reflect developments of the Italian Renaissance, but are
is a small-scale, iconic image, laden with pathos and produced
interpreted through the lens of a local, Valencian tradition.
for private devotion. While the artist’s graphic depiction of
Christ’s suffering responds to the religious texts of Spanish
In the Seicento, the responses of Spanish artists to the
mystical writers like Fray Luis de Granada, stylistically the
requirements of Counter-Reformation imagery continued to
work draws on both northern European and Italian traditions.
evolve, engaging both with local religious traditions and a broad
The intensity of Christ’s suffering is emphasized by the blood
range of visual inspiration. Francisco Zurbarán produced a
spilling over his Crown of Thorns, a motif famously explored
distinct combination of orthodox and mystical images.
Fig. 4. Antonello da Messina, Virgin Annunciate, ca. 1476, oil on panel,
45 x 34.5 cm, Palermo, Palazzo Abatellis.


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