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Juanes, Juan de (Vicente Juan Masip)

Fuente la Higuera, Valencia, h.1503/05 - Bocairente, Valencia, 1579

Juan de Juanes was one of the most important painters of the Spanish Renaissance. He dominated Valencian circles in the mid 16th century, although there is still some discussion as to whether certain works were painted by him or by his father, Juan Vicente Masip, who was already active in 1493 and was unquestionably one of the great Valencian painters of the early sixteenth century. Juanes began work at his father's studio and the two artists carried out numerous projects together. His name first appears with relation to the retable at Segorbe Cathedral in 1531. That is the period when Juan Vicente Masip underwent a profound stylistic change, but there is some disparity of opinion as to whether Juanes influenced his father, or whether it was Masip who transmitted his evolution to his son. Either way, beginning in the fifteen-thirties, Juan de Juanes became the studio's dominant figure, and he eventually became the most respected artist in Valencia, as well as the most in-demand. The praise of contemporaneous writers gives us an idea of how famous he was during his lifetime. He was in contact with literary culture and important humanistic circles in the vice-royal capital and he seems to have had intense intellectual interests. It may have been his fluency in Latin that led him to latinize his surname, comparing his work to that of the finest painters of Antiquity and discarding the more pedestrian "Maçip". His painting retained a Flemish component that he may have renewed by visiting the collections of some of his most notable colleagues, including Mencía de Mendoza. His main influence, however, was Italian, beginning with the Leonardism present in Valencia at the time of the Hernandos. This evolved with the influence of Raphael and knowledge of the painting of Sebastiano del Piombo, whose works were brought to Valencia by Jerónimo Vich, ambassador to Rome until 1521. Del Piombo's work is indispensable for understanding Juanes's painting, as his models already appear in the Segorbe altarpiece mentioned above. Juanes's Italian influences are so clear that they suggest he may have traveled there at some point, but they could just as well be explained by an exhaustive knowledge of the Valencian art scene. He probably knew Raphael's work through prints, rather than directly. While Juanes's painting is preponderantly religious, he also painted mythological scenes and a series of portraits of the prelates of Valencia Cathedral, as well as Alphonse V and Luis Castellà de Vilanova, Lord of Bicorp (Museo del Prado). Juanes reached his zenith in his canvases for the Saint Steven Retable (Museo del Prado), painted for the main altarpiece at the church of San Esteban in Valencia around 1562, where they remained until they were acquired by Charles IV around 1800. There, he was at his best, and he proved his mastery of all painterly resources. An exquisite draftsman, he also employed rich, brilliant colors, and the backgrounds of his works contain evocative landscapes that include classical buildings and ruins in compositions organized like erudite quotes. His figures' rhetorical gestures reveal his knowledge and reflection upon treatises on classical eloquence.

Artworks (18)

Oratorio de san Jerónimo penitente
Gilded, Ca. 1520
Juanes, Juan de; Forment, Damián
Christ on the Route to Calvary
Oil on panel, 1536 - 1538
Juanes, Juan de; Macip, Vicente
Saint Peter
Oil on panel, 1536 - 1538
Juanes, Juan de
The High Priest Aaron
Oil on panel, 1545 - 1550
Juanes, Juan de
Christ the Saviour with the Eucharist
Oil on panel, 1545 - 1550
Juanes, Juan de
Christ the Saviour
Oil on panel, 1545 - 1550
Juanes, Juan de
Melchizedek, King of Salem
Oil on panel, 1545 - 1550
Juanes, Juan de
Agony in the Garden
Oil on panel, Second half of the XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Juanes, Juan de; Macip Comes, Vicente Juan
Saint Stephen in the Synagogue
Oil on panel, 1555 - 1562
Juanes, Juan de

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