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Saint Bruno and his Companions before Urban II
Carducho, Vicente
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Carducho, Vicente

Florence (Italy), 1576 - Madrid (Spain), 1638

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Saint Bruno and his Companions before Urban II

1626 - 1632. Oil on canvas

On August 29, 1626, King Philip IV’s painter, Vicente Carducho (ca. 1576-1638), signed a contract for the creation of a cycle of paintings to celebrate the founding of the Carthusian Order by Saint Bruno and its leading members. This colossal undertaking sought to visually narrate numerous episodes from the Carthusians’ history and tradition. It was the most complete commission ever dedicated to this order, a series of fifty-four large canvases and two more of a smaller size with the coats of arms of the king and the order. This project was originally conceived by Father Juan de Baeza (d. 1641), a fundamental figure for the Carthusians’ spirituality and organization who closely controlled compliance with that order’s postulates. Juan de Baeza furnished Carducho with the episodes to be included in the series, many of which were unpublished or barely known and previously unrepresented in Spain. In terms of its narrative content, the group was organized in two parts: the first twenty-seven canvases illustrate the life of the order’s founder, Saint Bruno of Cologne (1035-1101), from the moment he decided to abandon public life and retire to the Grande Chartreuse Valley, north of Grenoble, through this death and first posthumous miracle. The second group glosses meaningful episodes in the order’s history, which took place in the principle European charterhouses between the 11th and 16th centuries. This group reveals the order’s strong founding drive, as well as some of its identity traits, including withdrawal to solitary and very beautiful settings, and a life of humility, mortification and penance, dedicated to study and prayer. The second group closes with a set of heroic scenes that represent episodes of persecution and martyrdom suffered by some Carthusian communities during the 15th and 16th centuries -images that seek to strengthen the monks’ faith while depicting Europe’s religious and territorial conflicts at that time. The series was painted between 1626 and 1632, following a laborious creative process that included the production of numerous drawings and sketches, as well as the necessary participation of some assistants. Like most 16th and 17th -century cloister series, this project was originally conceived by Carducho as a mural group. Over the course of his extensive career, he had already demonstrated his mastery of fresco painting, which was the most characteristic and, a priori, appropriate for this type of narrative cycle -at least in Italy, where every detail of this technique was known. However, the complexity of the project, the location of El Paular, and the order’s rigorous cloistering probably argued against the use of that technique. The large canvases have a semicircular arch at the top to fit the gothic segments of the cloister designed by Juan de Egas between 1484 and 1486.

Bruno and his six companions have arrived in Rome to make their solemn presentation before the Pope. They are shown lying prostrate at the Pontiff’s feet to receive his blessing. Carducho accentuates his characteristically theatrical presentation by converting the large crowd in the background into a sort of stage chorus (Text drawn from Ruiz, L. en: La recuperación de El Paular, 2013, pp. 185-190).

Technical data

Inventory number
P003803
Author
Carducho, Vicente
Title
Saint Bruno and his Companions before Urban II
Date
1626 - 1632
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 337 cm.; Width: 298.5 cm.
Series
Historia de la Orden de los Cartujos. Cartuja de El Paular, Rascafría, Madrid
Provenance
Rascafría (Madrid), Cartuja de Santa María de El Paular, cloister; Museo de la Trinidad.

Bibliography +

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, II. Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991.

Beutler, Werner, Vicente Carducho : Der Grosse Kartauserzyklus in el Paular, Institut Fur Anglistik Und Amerikan, Salzburgo, 1997, pp. 162.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, 'La recuperación de la serie cartujana de El Paular' En:, La recuperación de El Paular, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2013, pp. 186-202.

'Los Carduchos del Museo del Prado de la Cartuja de El Paular. Secuencia ordenada de la serie de V.Carducho para El Paular' En:, La recuperación de El Paular, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2013, pp. 217-233 [221 f.396].

de Carlos Varona, Mª Cruz, 'Vicente Carducho en El Paular, la elaboración de un imaginario cartujano' En:, La recuperación de El Paular, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2013, pp. 203-216.

Other inventories +

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 26.
26. Sn Bruno. / El sto esta besandole los pies al pontífice qe esta á la izquierda del espectador sentado bajo un docel encarnado rodean al santo varios religiosos de su orden arrodillados también en segundo término pueblo y soldados con alabardas fondo interior de un palacio figuras de cuerpo entero y tamaño natural / Firmado Vicente Carducho. / Rdo alto 3,43; ancho 3,01. / ID.ID. / Nº 224 G.P.

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 26.
26. S. Bruno besando los piés al Papa Urbano II. / Firmado, V.C.P.R.F. / De rodillas, y delante del Sumo Pontífice que está sentado en un sitial y rodeado de su séquito, se postra y le besa los piés el Santo cartujo. A su espalda se ven varios monjes de rodillos. / Este cuadro es uno de los más débiles de toda la coleccion.

There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

(Deposit)

Displayed objects +

Heraldic

Update date: 25-07-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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