Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 68

POMPEO LEONI / Portrait of a Knight of the Order of Alcántara or Calatrava Identified
POMPEO LEONI / Portrait of a Knight of the Order of Alcántara or Calatrava Identified
Plon attributed the Prado bust to Leone22 but Proske
suggested it could have been made in Spain after Philip
II’s return in 1559. Proske argue that the different
model and the less finely-worked decoration of the
armour preclude its inclusion in the series of portraits
done in the Milan workshop.23
All of this culminated in the portraits for the El Escorial
cenotaphs where Charles V, Philip II and Prince Don
Carlos (to cite only the male figures) are based on
models of the early portraits but finished in a similar
way to these later ones.
Another marble head of Philip II now on deposit in the
Museo de Historia de Madrid (fig. 13) is 22 cm high (34
cm including its jasper pedestal) and comes from the
collection of Diego de Hurtado de Mendoza (Granada
1503 - Madrid 1575).24 It appears in the Alcázar
inventory of 1602 among the sculptures left by the
ambassador to Philip II and is described as follows:
No.3680. A white marble statue of king
Don Phelippe, our lord, of only the head
with a part of the chest set on a brown
jasper pedestal the whole pedestal and
portrait being five ‘dozavos’ high [34 cm]25
Hurtado de Mendoza returned to Spain in 1554 so this
portrait of Philip II must be dated between 1559, when
the king himself returned to Spain, and 1568, when
he exiled Hurtado de Mendoza to Granada after his
fall from grace. The styles of the Philip II and Quijada
portraits are close. The ways in which the face has been
sculpted and the eyes, nose, ears, hair, moustache and
beard have been chiselled are very similar. The small
ruff is, however, less lifelike in Philip II and the small
fragment of the breast is entirely undecorated.26
Fig. 14 / Pompeo Leoni,
Funerary monument of
Fernando Valdés (detail),
1578-1582, alabaster,
Salas (Asturias), collegiate
Despite the connection between these three portraits of
Philip II, other similarities between the Luis Quijada
work and other portraits sculpted by Pompeo Leoni in
the 1570s should be mentioned. Features shared with
the Juana of Austria are the narrow ruff, the intricate
lines of the ears, the shape of the pupils and the lightly
traced eyebrows (see fig. 10).27
The portrait of Fernando Valdés (kneeling before
a prayer book), bareheaded and wearing priest’s
vestments) and three assistant clergy are very lifelike
but still exhibits the idealized quality characteristic of
the two Leonis (fig. 14). The life-size figure of Diego de
Espinosa kneeling on a prie-dieu with an open prayer
book also appears to be a perfect likeness, corresponding
to a portrait supplied to Pompeo, although it still shows
the same characteristics as the previous works (fig. 15).
The effigy demonstrates the high degree of skill Pompeo
displayed in representing the psychology of his subjects.28
Fig. 15 / Pompeo Leoni,
Funerary monument of
Diego de Espinosa (detail),
1576-1582, alabaster,
Segovia, Church Martín
Muñoz de las Posadas.
The portrait of Luis Quijada must have been
made before his death in 1570, firstly, because he is
represented as a young man, in his forties, and secondly
because if not, in all likelihood the work would have
been a funerary statue and not a heroic bust drawing
on Classical Antiquity. It does not seem possible, on the
other hand, that this would have been a commission
from Quijada himself or from Magdalena de Ulloa.
We have no information about Quijada’s own artistic
interests and we know that his wife’s overriding interest
was in religious objects, based on those in the museum
in the collegiate church of San Luis in Villagarcía de
Campos. Her magnificent reliquary is kept here, among
other valuable ritual objects and a superb collection of
religious ornaments.29
It is likely, then, that the portrait was a gift from one
of the high dignitaries Luis Quijada served. The style
suggests a date of between 1565 and 1570, and at that
time the people who may have wished to bestow such
an honour on him were Juana of Austria, Philip II,
Prince Don Carlos and Juan of Austria. Prince Don
Carlos commissioned from Pompeo Leoni a work which
must have been exceptional: a gold crucifix with a
crown of thorns in green enamel, fixed to a cross made
by the court silversmith Rodrigo Reinalte. The cross
was placed on a Calvary of gilded brass, with two skulls
and fourteen bones all made of silver covered with
gold. In accordance with his son’s last wishes, Philip
II donated this item to the monastery of Our Lady of
Atocha in Madrid, but it was lost probably in one of the
disentailments.30 The Prince’s close contact with Luis
Quijada is also evident from his will, where he mentions
him second only to his beloved tutor, Honorato Juan:
Item: I bequeath to Luis Quijada, my
Equerry, all those things of mine in his
keeping at the time of my death, he may
keep these and need give no account
of them, and I also bequeath all the
artillery I possess and may possess in the
alcázar of Segovia now in the keeping
of the Count of Chinchón, Mayor of
this alcázar, and of his lieutenant, whom
I command to hand over, along with
everything attached to them. All this I
bequeath to him because of the work he
will have to carry out as my executor.31
Leoni made an idealized portrait of Luis Quijada as
a soldier still in his youth, his expression peaceful yet
proud, keeping the characteristic shape of Quijada’s
prominent skull and wide forehead which allow the
bust to be identified. It must have been made, we have
seen, while he was working on the marble statues of
Charles V, Philip II and Empress Isabel, perhaps at the
same time as the bust and alabaster head of Philip
II, shortly before the effigy of Juana of Austria. In
this portrait, as in Luis Quijada, Pompeo Leoni stands
out as a magnificent sculptor in stone, more skilled
in psychological study than is evident from the later
works made for the royal family in the cenotaphs of
El Escorial. The comparative study of the Luis Quijada
with the Juana of Austria and other works executed
around 1570 reveals the same stylistic features and
the mastery which Leoni had already achieved as a
portraitist at this time 32


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