Colnaghi Foundation Journal 04 - Page 132

Pedro Orrente and the Nine Worthies
Pedro Orrente and the Nine Worthies
the combined forces of the crusading armies. Godfrey
and his brother Eustace were the first to enter
Jerusalem on 15 July 1099 from a siege tower. Having
conquered the Holy City, the crusaders offered the
throne to Godfrey, who refused a gold crown because
Christ had worn a crown of thorns. He adopted the
title of Defender of the Holy Sepulchre. On his death
in July 1100, his brother Baldwin was chosen as King
of Jerusalem.
During Godfrey’s brief reign, he rebuilt the port city
of Jaffa with the help of the Pisans in order to promote
pilgrimages. He also halted the attacks of the Egyptian
Fatimids, defeating them at the Battle of Ascalon. In
his Historia Hierololymitanae expeditionis, Albert of Aix,
chronicler of the First Crusade, contributed to forging
the legend of Godfrey of Bouillon as the prototype of
a Christian knight, as did the anonymous author of De
gesta francorum et aliorum hierosolimitanorum. Additionally,
the Benedictine monk Guibert de Nogent (1055-1124)
recounted an anecdote about Godfrey in his Gesta Dei
per francos, in which he refers to Godfrey’s enormous
strength: “With one blow of his sword he split a Turkish
rider in two so that his body was divided into two equal
parts” (Gesta VII, 11).
Fig. 17 / Pedro Orrente,
Godfrey of Bouillon, oil on
canvas, 160 x 115 cm, Museo
de Bellas Artes de Valencia.
Fig. 18 / Pedro Orrente,
Godfrey of Bouillon, oil
on canvas, 156 x 116 cm,
(present location unknown).
The final of the Christian worthies presented the
perfect model of a Christian knight in the figure of
Godfrey of Bouillon (1060-1100), son of Eustace II
of Boulogne and Ida of Lorraine, Duke of Bouillon,
Margrave of Antwerp, and Duke of Lower Lorraine.
As a loyal ally of the Emperor Henry IV, Godfrey
sold his properties in his native Lorraine and set out
with his brothers Eustace and Baldwin to take part
in the First Crusade, promoted by Pope Urban II at
the Council of Clermont with the aim of liberating
the Holy Land from the Muslims. Kilij Arslan I, son
of the great Suleyman Ibn-Kutalmish, fought against
Fig. 19 / Orrente and
workshop, Godfrey of
Bouillon, oil on canvas, 155
x 111 cm, Valencia, parish
church of San Nicolás
Obispo y San Pedro Mártir.
In the painting now in the Museo de Bellas Artes de
Valencia, Orrente depicts Godfrey of Bouillon as a
military leader with evident gifts for command and
leadership (fig. 17).27 Looking directly at the viewer,
Godfrey wears an elegant plumed hat, a cuirass,
a coat of mail, and the Cross of Jerusalem, which
is sometimes quartered with four small crosses. It
should be recalled that following the capture of the
Holy Places, Godfrey founded the Order of the Holy
Sepulchre of Jerusalem. In his right hand he carries
a baton of command while his left rests on his sword
hilt. At the top of the painting is an inscription that
identifies the subject: VICERATAERES SVO
The Archivo Moreno of the photographic library of
the Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España has two
photographs of works depicting Godfrey of Bouillon. One
of them (inv. 20519-B), captioned “Portrait”, was in the
collection of the Count of Toreno (fig. 18), while the other
(inv. 19363-B) is annotated as a work in the Pérez Gaya
collection in Madrid. On closer study it is evident that they
are in fact the same work, in one case prior to retouching
when in the collection of the Count of Toreno, and in the
other following restoration in the Pérez Gaya collection.
This same oil on canvas (156 x 116 cm), which is clearly
an autograph work by Pedro Orrente, was auctioned in
the United States in 1990 as a work by Jerónimo Jacinto
de Espinosa (“Portrait of Godfrey of Bouillon wearing
a red Costume”)28 and seems to have subsequently
been in the collection of Stanley Moss in New York. A
further depiction of this subject by Orrente, with possible
studio participation, survives in the parish church of San
Nicolás Obispo y San Pedro Mártir in Valencia (fig. 19).
It is inscribed at the top: GODOFRE.D.LOTA.


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