The Museo del Prado will be exhibiting the first documented Hispano-Flemish painting by a Castilian artist for a period of ten years

<em>Altarpiece of the Gozos de Santa María (Altarpiece of the Marquis and Marchioness of Santillana)</em>, Jorge Inglés. Doc. 1455. Oil on panel, 497 x 463cm. On deposit with the Museo del Prado from Don Íñigo de Arteaga, Duque del Infantado

Altarpiece of the Gozos de Santa María (Altarpiece of the Marquis and Marchioness of Santillana), Jorge Inglés. Doc. 1455. Oil on panel, 497 x 463cm. On deposit with the Museo del Prado from Don Íñigo de Arteaga, Duque del Infantado

    The Altarpiece of the Gozos de Santa María by Jorge Inglés will be on display in Room 57 of the Villanueva Building as the result of an agreement signed with its present owner, the Duque del Infantado, Íñigo de Arteaga y Martín. An exceptional work for the history of both art and literature will thus be added to the Prado’s collection for a period of ten years.

    Wednesday 23 May 2012

    The display at the Museo del Prado of the Altarpiece of the Gozos de Santa María, also known as the “Altarpiece of the Angels”, will allow visitors to see a work of primary importance within Castilian Hispano-Flemish painting. The altarpiece’s significance lies in the fact that it is the first documented work by a known artist of this school to survive and also because the composition includes the portraits of the Marquis and Marchioness of Santillana and the literary work known as the Gozos de Santa María [verses in praise of the Virgin].

    Having entered the Museo del Prado on 9 April 2012, the altarpiece spent time in the Museum’s restoration studio before going on display in Room 57 of the Villanueva Building, which will now be devoted to Spanish and Flemish portraits of the nobility and burgher classes.

    The Altarpiece of the Gozos de Santa María or of the Marquis of Santillana was commissioned by the Marquis from Jorge Inglés prior to June 1455 for the church of the hospital in Buitrago (Madrid), as recorded in the codicil of the Marquis’s will (6 June 1455). For many years it was to be seen on the high altar, after which the Dukes of Infantado, heirs of the Marquis of Santillana and patrons of the hospital, installed it in other locations on their estate.

    The altarpiece retains part of the original structure and traceries and all the paintings executed by Jorge Inglés. Above the predella with depictions of the Four Fathers of the Church we see Íñigo López de Mendoza, Marquis of Santillana, in what is the only surviving painted portrait of a Castilian nobleman. Also depicted is his wife, Catalina Suárez de Figueroa, kneeling before the Virgin, of which the original, mid-15th-century Flemish image is lost and has been replaced. The two figures are accompanied by their page and maid, respectively. In the upper section of the altarpiece, consisting of two panels, are twelve angels bearing scrolls with texts from the Gozos de Santa María written by the Marquis in proof of his devotion to the Virgin.

    Don Íñigo López de Mendoza, Marquis of Santillana

    In addition to being the first documented work by a known artist of this school, the importance of the patron, the 1st Marquis of Santillana, who was a key figure in Castile during the reign of Juan II, makes this a work of particular significance.

    Íñigo López de Mendoza, a major poet and devotee of science, was seen as the great exemplar of the Castilian nobility of this date and a figure whose dedication to literature “did not dull the iron of his sword”. His two areas of interest, weaponry and literature, took concrete shape in the two collections that he initiated, an armoury and a library, which would have been a source of pride to his successors, the Dukes of Infantado. López de Mendoza also had two particular subjects of devotion: his family (his wife, Catalina Suárez de Figueroa, depicted with him in this altarpiece, and their children) and the Virgin. The latter is reflected in his devotional verses known as the Gozos de Santa María, which are inscribed on the scrolls carried by the angels in the present work.

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