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The Holy Family, Saint Ildephonsus, Saint John the Evangelist and Master Alonso de Villegas
Prado, Blas de
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Prado, Blas de

Camarena, Toledo, 1545 - Madrid, 1599

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The Holy Family, Saint Ildephonsus, Saint John the Evangelist and Master Alonso de Villegas

1589. Oil on canvas Not on display

A high surface acts as a sort of altar bearing an image of the Virgin and Child with Saint Joseph behind them. Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Ildephonsus stand at a lower level in front, flanking clergyman and writer Alonso de Villegas, who is presented in a three-quarters view. His devout posture, with hands joined at chest level and a serene, withdrawn expression as he contemplates Mary and her child, are customary in depictions of Medieval donors. Villegas (1534-1615) was an important figure in 16th-century Spanish cultural and religious life, due mostly to his book, Flos Sanctorum,whose first volume was published in 1578 and became a fundamental work intended to clarify traditions from the Christian sanctorale considered insufficiently rigorous and unacceptable in the orthodox context of the Council of Trent. Villegas also wrote Favores de la Virgen, an ode to the Virgin Mary of uncertain date that was aligned with the Conceptionist fervor sweeping Spain at that time. In that sense, it is interesting that this painting places him alongside Saint Ildephonusus, who was the patron saint of both Villegas and the city of Toledo and was always a fierce advocate of Mary´s virginity, as is patent in his book, De illibata Virginitate Sanctae Mariae. Saint John had also demonstrated his dedication to the Virgin in his description of the Apocalypse, and here the artist chose to present him according to Byzantine iconography—as a bearded old man who blesses the chalice employed in an effort to poison him in Ephesis—rather than the traditional Western presentation as a beardless young man. This painting is important, both as one of the few works signed and dated by this interesting artist from Toledo, and for the use at such a late date of medieval conventions in the depiction of Villegas as the donor. Of course this type of image was deeply rooted in Toledo, and Blas de Prado (ca.1546-1599) himself has been attributed another very similar work in that regard: Virgin with Saints and Donors, at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. Here, the portrait of Villegas stands out for the detailed naturalist rendering of his face, which reveals the artist´s skill at portraiture and must certainly have pleased the clergyman, as it became the model used by engraver Diego de Astor for a plate that Villegas included as a sort of signature in authorized editions of his Flos Sanctorum. The realism of his depiction contrasts with the rest of the composition, whose Renaissance idealism constitutes an exercise in eclecticism very characteristic of this artist: Roman-style monumentalism in the figures and a palette closer to the Venetian school, but nuanced by an enveloping light that ties it to Correggio´s work (Text drawn from Ruiz, L. en: El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2006, p. 74).

Technical data

Inventory number
P001059
Author
Prado, Blas de
Title
The Holy Family, Saint Ildephonsus, Saint John the Evangelist and Master Alonso de Villegas
Date
1589
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 209 cm.; Width: 165 cm.
Provenance
Iglesia jesuítica de San Juan Bautista, Toledo; Royal Collection (Palacio Real, Madrid, cuarto del mayordomo mayor, 1814-1818, s.n.).

Bibliography +

Inventario de las Pinturas del Museo Hecho a la Muerte del R, [s.n, Madrid, 1834, pp. 12.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catalogo ilustrado de la Sala de Velazquez en el Museo del P, J. Laurent y Cia., Fotógrafos Editores, Madrid, 1899, pp. 9.

Loga, Valerian von, Die Malerei in Spanien: vom XIV. bis XVIII. Jahrhundert, G. Grote'sche verlagsBuchhandlung, Berlín, 1923, pp. 113.

Mayer, August L.1885-1944, La Pintura Española, Labor, Madrid, 1926.

Ars hispaniae: historia universal del arte hispánico, Plus Ultra, Madrid, 1954, pp. 295/ lám.301.

Gomez de la Serna, Ramon, El Greco. El Visionario de la Pintura, Dierccion General de Bellas Artes, Madrid, 1962, pp. 155.

Post, Chandler Rathfon, A history of Spanish painting, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1966, pp. 209/ lám.82.

Brown, Jonatahan, Algunasa adiciones a la obra de Bals de Prado, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 41, 1968, pp. 31.

Santa Teresa y su tiempo, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Dirección Gener, Madrid, 1970, pp. 114.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio, Vidas, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1986, pp. 30.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 84.

Las tierras y los hombres del rey: Felipe II, un monarca y su época, Sociedad Estatal Commemoracion de Los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V, Madrid, 1998, pp. 469/ nº288.

Esplendores de Espanha de el Greco a Velázquez, Arte Viva, Río de Janeiro, 2000, pp. 190.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco y la pintura española del Renacimiento: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 72.

Mateo Gómez, Isabel, Pintura toledana de la segunda mitad del siglo XVI, Departamento de Historia del Arte, Instituto de Hi, Madrid, 2003, pp. 260.

El mundo que vivió Cervantes, Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2005.

Ruiz Gómez, L., La Sagrada Familia, san Ildefonso, san Juan Evangelista y el maestro Alonso de Villegas (1589). En: Ruiz Gómez, L.: El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2006, pp. 74, n. 16.

Gayo, Mª Dolores; Jover de Celis, Maite, Evolución de las preparaciones en la pintura sobre lienzo de los siglos XVII y XVIII en España., Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXVIII, 2010, pp. 39-59.

Hadjinicolaou, N, 'A successful marginal figure' En:, Ho philikos kyklos toy Gkreko sto Toledo. Friends and patrons of El Greco in Toledo, Benaki Museum, Atenas, 2014, pp. 63-117 [88 f.18].

Other inventories +

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. s. n..
Cuarto del Mayordomo Mayor [...] {22095} Tres varas alto dos de ancho, Nuestra Señora sentada con el Niño Dios San Jose San Juan Evangelista San Ildefonso y el Patrón = Blas de Prado

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 170.
Prado (Blas de) / 170. Asunto mistico. / La Virgen sentada sobre un trono elevado, tiene encima de sus rodillas al niño Jesus, quien acoje favorablemente las oraciones de Alfonso de Villegas, autor del flos sanctorum. San jose al lado de la virgen y al pie del trono San Juan Evangelista y San Ildefonso (c.l.) / Alto 7 pies, 6 pulg; ancho 5 pies, 11 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 944.
944.-(170-C.)- La Vírgen con Jesus niño, y varios Santos.-Está Nuestra Señora en sitio elevado, sentada bajo un pabellon y algun tanto vuelta hácia el venerable Alonso de Villegas, á quien se inclina y alarga sus brazos el niño Jesus desde el regazo de su santa Madre. Detrás de ésta asoma San José. En la parte inferior del lienzo están, además de Villegas, San Ildefonso y San Juan Evangelista. (Véase sobre la historia de este cuadro nuestro Catálogo extenso.)- Figuras de tamaño natural.-C.L.-F.L. / Alto 2.09; ancho 1,65.-L.

Exhibitions +

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Madrid
12.06.2007 - 02.09.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Bilbao
05.03.2007 - 20.05.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Alicante
12.12.2006 - 18.02.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Toledo
19.09.2006 - 26.11.2006

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Salamanca
22.06.2006 - 21.08.2006

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Santiago de Compostela
09.03.2006 - 14.05.2006

El mundo que vivió Cervantes
Madrid
13.10.2005 - 19.02.2006

De El Greco a Velázquez. La cultura española durante la Unión Ibérica, 1580-1640
Río de Janeiro
12.07.2000 - 24.09.2000

Las tierras y los hombres del rey
Valladolid
22.10.1998 - 10.01.1999

Location +

Room 052C (On Display)

Expuesto

Displayed objects +

Chalice

Update date: 21-11-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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