Altar Piece of Archbishop Sancho de Rojas1415 - 1420. Tempera on pine panel, 532 x 618 cm.
This is a large gothic altarpiece. Its central panel depicts the Virgin with Child, and behind them, four angels hold the brocade backdrop while four others play musical instruments. Saint Benedict and Saint Bernard, both of the Bendictine order, stand protecting Archbishop Sancho de Rojas —on whom the Virgin is placing the miter— and King Fernando I of Aragon, who is being crowned by the Christ child. The upper panels represent the Holy Father and, on each side, the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary with Isaiah and David at the ends. The second section of the altarpiece bears several scenes: The Crucifixion in the central area, Christ among the Doctors, a Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi; and at the right, the Fifth Anguish of Mary, the Holy Burial and the Descent into Limbo. Some of these have lost a considerable amount of paint. The first section bears: Ecce Homo, the Flagellation and Jesus bearing the cross to the left of the central panel, with the Ascension, Pentecost and The Mass of Saint Gregory, on the right. The eighteen Saint´s heads on the predella and the Rojas coat of arms among the pinnacles complete this altarpiece´s decoration. In total, it is an example of an Italian-influenced gothic altarpiece at the Prado Museum. The profusion of scenes is customary in the gothic period, over the course of which altarpieces became increasingly complex. The scenes are described in an efficient and synthetic manner so as to be perfectly understood by the faithful. Made for the church of San Benito in Valladolid, it is attributed to Rodríguez de Toledo because of its similarities to other panels signed by him.