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Saint Stephen / The Imposition of the Chasuble on Saint Ildephonsus
Correa de Vivar, Juan
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Correa de Vivar, Juan

Mascaraque (Toledo, Spain), 1510 - Toledo (Spain), 1566

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Saint Stephen / The Imposition of the Chasuble on Saint Ildephonsus

1559. Oil on panel.
Room 052C

The Museo del Prado’s collections include an important group of paintings by Juan de Correa de Vivar, an artist based in Toledo who must have been born at the beginning of the 16th century in the town of Mascaraque and died in the Imperial City in 1566. In total, these are nearly forty works from the former Museo Nacional de la Trinidad. Like many other 16th-century Spanish religious painters, Correa de Vivar stood out for his meticulously painted works for altarpieces, structures of various types whose narrative and stylistic contents were adapted to the overall perception of the group.

This is the left door of the Altarpiece of the Annunciation. The exterior depicts Saint Stephen holding a martyr’s palm leaf and carrying the stones with which he was killed in the folds of his deacon’s habit. On the lower part, the Virgin Mary concedes a chasuble to Saint Ildephonse, Archbishop of Toledo, as a reward for his devotion to her. This work’s meticulous brushstrokes bring out the elegant mannerism characteristic of the artist’s final years. The Altarpiece of the Annunciation also contained two other panels: The Annunciation (P02828) and Saint Laurence/Saint Hilary (P01300).

This altar was commissioned by the community of the Order of Saint Jerome for the monastery at Guisando in Avila, where it was already documented in 1559. At the time, Correa de Vivar was deeply involved in mannerism, with a very carefully crafted production that draws on Italian prints. That explains the similarity of his figures, architectural elements and compositional notes to the work of Raphael. The three separate panels now considered part of that altarpiece -The Annunciation, Saint Stephen/The Imposition of the Chasuble on saint Ildephonse and Saint Laurence/Saint Hilary- arrived at the Museo de la Trinidad with no reference to their author or provenance. The Annunciation was ignored at the Museo del Prado until 1945, when Sánchez Cantón ascribed it, with some doubt, to correa. He also thought it might be by Comones. Somewhat later, Post, Ángulo and Camón Aznar definitively reaffirmed the attribution to Correa de Vivar. In 1982, The Annunciation and the two panels with the holy deacons (Saint Stephen and Saint Laurence) were exhibited together, forming a triptych of the sort that Correa had made for the monastery at Guisando. Later, the three works were hung together as part of the Museo del Prado’s permanent exhibition. X-rays and infra-red reflectography of the three panels show small rectifications to properly fit the three elements into the compositions. The x-ray of the central panel, The Annunciation, has revealed the painter’s peculiar manner of scoring the panels once their corresponding boards -five in all- were joined. He thus generated a rhomboidal grid of cuts. The other interesting aspect is his careful drawing, which is very visible in the reflectography of the holy deacons. Correa initially drew them on the panels in very light brushstrokes, delineating the contours over what was probably an initial pencil drawing. Afterwards, he specified the main volumes by applying very diluted pigments in a sort of wash over which he again established the profiles of the initial contours in darker colors. On a more superficial layer, he loaded the brush with more pigment to make some of the decorative motives. We cannot be certain that Joan Correa de Vivar faithfully met his deadlines for this altarpiece, nor do we know how much he was eventually paid for what is certainly one of his finest artworks and a very notable piece from the Spanish Renaissance. It does seem necessary, however, to recover the formal typology of this group, which was forever dismantled at the time of the Disentailment.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, El Retablo de la Anunciación de Juan Correa de Vivar. Boletín del Museo del Prado, 2004, p.6-21


Technical data

Inventory number
Correa de Vivar, Juan
Saint Stephen / The Imposition of the Chasuble on Saint Ildephonsus
Height: 182 cm; Width: 79 cm
Tríptico de estación, claustro monasterio jerónimo de Guisando (Ávila)
Jerónimos Monastery, Guisando (Ávila); Museo de la Trinidad, 1875.

Bibliography +

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865, pp. 262.

Gómez-Menor, José, Correa de Vivar, ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE / ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE Y ARQUEOLOGIA, 39, 1966, pp. 297.

El Toledo de Domyco Theotocopuly: El Greco, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, Madrid, 1982, pp. 123.

Espinós, A.; Orihuela, M. y Royo Villanova, M. [et al.], El ''Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en Toledo y Ávila. Toledo. Museo de Santa Cruz, Boletín del Museo del Prado, V, 1984, pp. 68.

Noticias del Prado. Levantamiento definitivo de depósitos. Albacete. Museo, Boletín del Museo del Prado, 9, 1988, pp. 181.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (II). Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991, pp. nº932.

Portús Pérez, Javier, La colección de pintura española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 42.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, El Retablo de la Anunciación de Juan Correa de Vivar, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXII, 2004, pp. 6-21.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El trazo oculto: dibujos subyacentes en pinturas de los siglos XV y XVI, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2006, pp. 148, nº 8.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2185b.
2185b.-San Estebán protomártir, con los emblemas de su martirio.-Portezuela de oratorio: tiene en el reverso á San Ildefonso.-Compañero del anterior, y como él imitación de la manera florentina. / Véase la nota ilustrativa al núm. 2185a. / Alto 1,81; ancho 0,78.-T.

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 932.
ESCUELAS ITALIANA. / LUCAS CANGIASI (LUQUETO). [...] 932. S. Estéban. / Tabla pintada por ambos lados.-Al.1,825.-An.0,80.-Fig.t.n./ S.Estéban de diácono, con una palma en la mano derecha teniendo con la izquierda unas piedras sobre la parte anterior de la dalmática. Fondo paisaje, en lontananza una ciudad romana. / Puerta de un relicario: lado interior. // 932. La Vírgen en el acto de poner la casulla a San Ildefonso. / Puerta del mismo relicario, lado exterior. Compañero del núm. 841.

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 932.
932. / Tabla. Sn Estevan protomartir de cuerpo entº tamº nat.l, con una palma en la mano dra. con la izqda cogiendose el ropaje. donde lleva piedras. / Autor / Rectifido alto 1,80 ancho 0,77 pr la luz del marco / Rdo sin embarrotar con moldura lisa dorada y colgdo en / nº 180 / G.P.

Location +

Room 052C (On Display)

Update date: 17-03-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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