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Borgoña, Juan de

act. 1495 - Toledo, 1534

This artist of Burgundian origin had contact with the Tuscan school and was active in Toledo between 1495 and 1535. His main pieces are at cathedrals in Toledo and Avila. He was one of the most important masters in Spain at the beginning of the 16th century and his work in Toledo, where he certainly modified that city’s aesthetic climate, was decisive for ushering in the Renaissance in Castile. His name indicates he was from the north, and while one source considered him sculptor Felipe Bigarny’s brother, there is no proof at all of that relationship. His later work suggests he spent time in Italy, as it is clearly reminiscent of Tuscany and Umbria, although there is no documentation of such a visit. He first appeared in 1495, working on the cloister of Toledo Cathedral, where he painted a Visitation and various coats of arms.While his activity constantly revolved around that cathedral, the renown he gained in those years led to commissions in central Spain, including Madrid, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Salamanca, and their size and frequency suggest that me must have had a large workshop. The fact that his son, Juan de Borgoña the younger, was employed there has led to some problems of attribution. Between 1509 and 1511, he made his most highly valued work: the decoration of the chapter hall at Toledo Cathedral, where he made one of the most successful groups from the early Spanish Renaissance, with Italian-style frescoes that open onto a trompe l’oeil space with architecture and lush landscapes in the background. All of this has been linked to artists such as Ghirlandaio, who has also been considered influential in the naturalist and decorative details of the plants and flower vases in the anteroom. The Flemish sensibilities that some have also attributed to Borgoña emerge in certain frescoes, as well, including his depiction of Calvary, whose greater dramatic sense may have been demanded by local tastes previously tied to the northern tradition. The frescoes in the chapter hall were extended to that same cathedral’s Mozarabe chapel in 1514, where the narration of Cardinal Cisneros’s campaign in Oran acquires historical and descriptive values. Later important works by Borgoña include retables in Camarena (1517) and Pastrana (1518), his work at the University of Alcala (1519) and a Trinity for the main altarpiece at Toledo Cathedral.

Artworks (4)

La curación del paralítico
Oil on panel, XVI century
Borgoña, Juan de (Attributed to)
Los azotes del Señor
Oil on panel, XVI century
Borgoña, Juan de (Circle of)
La Verónica
Oil on panel, XVI century
Borgoña, Juan de (Attributed to)
Mary Magdalene, Saint Peter of Verona, Saint Catharine of Sienna and Blessed Margaret of Hungary
Mixed method on panel, Ca. 1515
Borgoña, Juan de

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