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The Resurrection
Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista
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Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista

Pastrana, Guadalajara, 1581 - Madrid, 1649

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The Resurrection

1612 - 1614. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

On 14 February 1612 Juan Bautista Maíno signed the contract to execute the paintings for the monastery church of San Pedro Mártir in Toledo. Maíno agreed to a period of eight months to make the paintings, which had to portray the scenes and episodes specified by the prior of the monastery. Despite the agreement reached in the contract, the paintings were not completed until December 1614. In the meantime Maíno entered the monastery, becoming a member of the Dominican Order on 27 July 1613.

As a result, this altarpiece is the key reference point in Maíno’s oeuvre. Antonio Palomino based his judgement of the artist’s work on it, describing Maíno as one of the most eminent painters of his day, as can be seen in his works for the said house [San Pedro Mártir], particularly the high altar of that church with the four canvases of the Cuatro Pascuas [four feasts], in which there are excellent nudes and other things painted in majestic life-size. For his part, Ponz singled out the invention, knowledge of chiaroscuro, draughtsmanship and skill in the use of colour that Maíno’s paintings revealed, and he was the first to refer to the subjects depicted: The coming of the Holy Spirit, the Resurrection of Christ, his Birth and the Adoration of the Magi. Together, these are the most important episodes in the life of Christ, from his birth to his resurrection, and thus constitute the great iconic images of the Catholic world and the most important festivals in the ecclesiastical calendar, known together in Spanish as the Cuatro Pascuas.

Located in the upper storey of the San Pedro Mártir altarpiece, above the Adoration of the Magi, this composition depicts one of the most important episodes in Christian iconography, the resurrection of the Son of God and hence the redemption of all believers. Three days after his death on Mount Golgotha, Christ rose again and ascended to the heavens from the tomb in which he was buried.

According to the account in Matthew (28:1-4), this took place at dawn: [...] as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week [...] there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it. His countenance was as lightening, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. Maíno simplified the biblical passage and left out the angel described in Matthew that is normally included in depictions of this subject. Thus, Christ occupies the central part of the canvas, standing above the tomb on a small grey cloud that seems as solid as the marble of the sarcophagus, on the front of which is a figure pursued by a large fish. This refers to Jonah 2:1-10, the Old Testament account that alludes to the resurrection of that prophet following his sin and punishment. Jonah is also mentioned in the Gospel of Saint Matthew (12:40:) And as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Maíno placed the four figures that surround Christ in the lower part of the composition. This conforms to the traditional iconography of this scene, although only two are the keepers referred to in the Gospel. The artist turned these two figures into seventeenth-century soldiers dressed in gleaming armour that recalls that worn by Spanish regular troops. The one standing on our right wears a breastplate and helmet and reacts to the astonishing presence of the risen Christ by putting his hand to his sword. In contrast, the one on our left, standing dormant, leans precariously on the branch of a tree against which his halberd is propped. The two peasants at the bottom of the composition, in the foreground, are also asleep, positioned in a manner similar to the two shepherds in the foreground of the Adoration of the Shepherds in this altarpiece. The one closest to the viewer, clad only in breeches, is a reverse depiction of the figure holding a lamb in that canvas. With his torso bare and his head bent forward, he turns the rough, dirty soles of his feet towards the viewer, a posture that can be associated with Caravaggio’s Roman works, as Harris noted in 1935, in particular with the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew in the Contarelli chapel. The same figure is also seen in the Adoration of the Shepherds by Maíno in the Hermitage. Margit Kern has recently associated this figure, both seen frontally and from the back, with works not only by Caravaggio but also with Michelangelo’s ignudi, although like Mayer, she considers the sculpture of the Dying Gaul to be the key reference, thus constituting a reformulation of antique models of pagan sacrifice. Sergio Benedetti suggested that this shepherd symbolises mankind asleep as it waits for redemption. This idea can perhaps also be extended to the other figure in the foreground wearing a large, snowy white turban over a red cap and dressed in short blue breeches, a white shirt and an elaborate red waistcoat with bands of gold embroidery. This character is seated on a rock and leaning on his left arm, which in turn rests on his raised left leg. To maintain his balance, his right hand clasps his left knee in an unstable posture that once again reveals Maíno’s powers of observation. These two figures in the foreground are further references to the unbelievers who have not yet been touched by the light of Christ. Some of the fundamental elements in this composition are developed in the Resurrection in the Dresden Gemäldegalerie, a work that I consider is close in time to this Adoration and in which both the angel and the soldiers are omitted. Instead, that version includes three peasants seen from behind, who can be directly associated with the two figures in this canvas. In the version here, Maíno scales down the burst of golden clouds around Christ in order to incorporate an evening landscape in the background, while also reducing the size and sweep of the Redeemer’s cloak. Christ here stands firmly on the tomb rather than rising into the air and is thus not presented as a celestial apparition moving away from the earthly realm that he is abandoning. This aspect is all the more evident today, owing to the fact that we can now see the canvas from closer up than it would have been seen in its original location in the altarpiece, which may explain why Mayer thought the figure of Christ was rigid and theatrical. For his part, Angulo considered the figure unsuccessful and compared it with the weightless Christ in El Greco’s Resurrection (P825). For Pérez Sánchez, the unstable, artificial pose of Christ in the present work marks a contrast with the virtuosity in the depiction of the armour and textiles and the everyday human types seen in the rest of the composition, an opinion similar to that of Carl Justi, who again saw the painting as close to Caravaggio.

Enriqueta Harris compared this Resurrection with a painting of the same subject by Simone Peterzano (1540-1596) for the charterhouse of Garegnano in Milan. Though I believe this is a pertinent comparison with regard to Christ’s pose and volumetric solidity, Peterzano’s depiction of the anatomy deploys a Mannerism that is lacking in Maíno’s canvas. Rather, Maíno used the type of Christ that appears in the Trinity in the altarpiece of that name painted for the convent of the Conceptionists in Pastrana. (Ruiz, L.: Juan Bautista Maíno: 1581-1649, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2009, pp. 289-292).


Technical data

Inventory number
Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista
The Resurrection
1612 - 1614
Height: 295 cm; Width: 174 cm
Retablo de las Cuatro Pascuas. Iglesia de San Pedro Mártir, Toledo
Church of the Dominican Convent of San Pedro Mártir, Toledo; Museo de la Trinidad.

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España. Vol. I, I, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1776, pp. 162.

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865, pp. 154, n. 196.

Justi, C., Diego Velázquez und sein jahrhundert, Max Cohen & sohn, Bonn, 1888, pp. 78.

Mayer, August L., Geschichte Der Spanischen Malerei, Klinkhardt & Bierman, Leipzig, 1922, pp. 420.

Harris, Enriqueta, Aportaciones para el estudio de Juan Bautista Maíno, Revista española de arte, IV, 8, 1935, pp. 333-339 [335].

García Figar, A., Fray Juan Bautista Maíno, pintor español, Goya: Revista de Arte, 25, 1958, pp. 6-13 [7], n. 25.

Angulo Íñiguez, D.; Pérez Sánchez, A. E., Historia de la pintura española: escuela madrileña del primer tercio del siglo XVII, Instituto Diego Velázquez, Madrid, 1969, pp. 309, n. 4.

Ars Hispaniae: Historia universal del arte hispánico, XV, Plus Ultra, Madrid, 1971, pp. 33.

Spear, R. E., Caravaggio and his followers, Harper & Row, New York, 1971, pp. 123.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, 400 Años de Pintura Española, Museo de Cultura, Madrid, 1981, pp. 110.

El Toledo de Domyco Theotocopuly: El Greco, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, Madrid, 1982, pp. 175, n. 145.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 390.

Nicolson, Benedict, Caravaggism in Europe, I, Umberto Allemandi & C., Milán, 1989, pp. il. 474.

Serrera, J. M., Juan Bautista Maíno: Notas sobre el retablo de las Cuatro Pascuas, Boletín del Museo del Prado, X, 1989, pp. 35-41.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (II). Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991, pp. n. 196.

Boitani, M. C., Juan Bautista Maino, Fratelli Palombi Editori, [S.L.], 1995, pp. 137-139.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1996, pp. 211.

Kern, M., Eine Kulturgeschichte des Opfers. Die 'Anbetung der Hirten' von Juan Bautista Maíno. En: Kirchliche kultur und kunst des 17. Jahrhunderts in Spanien, Vervuert, Fáncfort, 2004, pp. 100-108.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Museo de la Trinidad en el Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 121.

Benedetti, S., Caravaggio e L'Europa. Il movimento caravaggesco internazionale da Caravaggio a Mattia Preti, Skira, Milano, 2005, pp. 198, n. II.10.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, Maíno en Pastrana: el retablo de los Miranda, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXIV, 2006, pp. 14-23.

Calvesi, M.; Zuccari, A., Da Caravaggio ai Caravaggeschi, Cam editrice, Roma, 2009, pp. 365-372/565.

Ruíz Gómez, L, Juan Bautista Maíno, 1581-1649, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 126-128, n. 15.

Gayo, Mª D.; Jover de Celis, M., 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.

Ruíz Gómez, L., Algunas notas después de la exposición Juna Bautista Maíno (1581-1649) en el Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXIX, 2011, pp. 78-96 [84].

Papi, Gianni, Antologia di artisti 'Un San Matteo e l' angelo' di Juan Bautista Maino, Paragone, LXVII, 2016, pp. 61-64 [61].

Jakstat, S, 'F.Juan B. Maíno. Resurrection of Christ' En:, Staatliche Museen ; Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, 2016, pp. 102-103 n.10.

Papi, Gianni, Borgianni and Maíno: new discoveries, Artur Ramon Art, 2017, pp. 57.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 196.
ESCUELA TOLEDANA. [...] FRAY JUAN BAUTISTA MAYNO.[...] 196. La Resurreccion. / Lienzo. - Al. 2,96.- An. 1,75. - Fig. t. n. / Firmado, Mayno. / En la parte superior del cuadro, está Nuestro Señor Jesucristo de pié sobre nubes con una bandera blanca, con una cruz roja en la mano izquierda; a sus piés un sepulcro del Renacimiento; tres soldados duermen mientras que uno en traje flamenco con casco, está en actitud de sacar el sable.

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 196.
196. / La resurrección de Jesucristo con los sayones dormidos y en primer termino uno de ellos vuelto de espaldas, uno en el acto de desenvainar un sable, fs de cuerpo entero y Tamº / Autor Maino. / Rdo alto 2,95; ancho / 1,75. / / Nº 23 / E.P.

Exhibitions +

Museo del Prado 1819-2019. A place of memory
19.11.2018 - 10.03.2019

El Siglo de Oro. The Age of Velázquez
25.11.2016 - 26.03.2017

El Siglo de Oro. The Age of Velázquez
01.07.2016 - 30.10.2016

Juan Bautista Maíno (1581-1649)
20.10.2009 - 17.01.2010

Da Caravaggio a Mattia Preti. The International Caravaggesche Movement
15.10.2005 - 06.02.2006

Museo de la Trinidad
19.07.2004 - 03.10.2004

Displayed objects +

Weapons / Arms: Alabarda

Sabre / Saber


Standard / Banner / Flag

Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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