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Yáñez de la Almedina, Fernando

ca. 1489, ca. 1536

This artist considered"Spain's most exquisite Renaissance painter" by Elías Tormo was first mentioned in 1575 in Relaciones de los pueblos de España as "licenciado Yáñez" from the village of Almedina. He also appears in a roster of painters compiled by Hernando de Ávila in his "Art of painting" and included by Diego de Villalta in 1590. In the 17th century, he was mentioned by Juan de Butrón, and later by Vicente Carducho. In the 18th, Palomino refers to a brief and as-yet-unpublished allusion to this painter by Quevedo. In 1800, Ceán Bermúdez revealed documents in which he appears as the author of the retable at the Chapel of Los Caballeros in Cuenca Catheral. After Justi noticed the relation between that retable and the paintings at Valencia Cathedral in 1877, Roque Chabás found documentation on the Valencian retable in 1891 that names Hernando de Llanos and Hernando Yáñez de la Almedina. Born around 1475, his is thought to be the "Ferrando Spagnolo dipintore" who collaborated with Leonardo da Vinci in 1505 on the unfinished Battle of Anghiari. He was also influenced by other painters, including Pollaiuolo, Raphael, Filippino Lippi and Perugino, as well as by Dürer's engravings, among others. His name appears in reference to a 1506 contract for a Valencia Cathedral Altarpiece of Saints Cosme and Damian, of which only a Pietà has survived. That contract led to the immediate commission in 1507 of the retable for the main altar at the same cathedral. Yáñez is considered the author of exceptional works, including Saint Catherine (Museo del Prado), and in 1507 he was listed in another document at the church of Santo Tomás, and later, in that of Santa Catalina. Beginning in 1510, he was registered as an inhabitant of the parish of San Andrés. Between 1511 and 1514 he was contracted to design the main organ at Valencia Cathedral and after a brief stay in Barcelona he returned to Valencia in 1516 to decorate that temple's small organ. In 1518-1521, he returned to his hometown, where he always appears as "Hernandiañez." In those years, he painted a panel of Saint Damian (Museo del Prado) and a Holy Family (Grether Collection, Buenos Aires), which he signed "Hernandiañez" in 1523. First documented in Cuenca in 1525, he made the Crucifixion Altarpiece for that cathedral's Chapel of Los Caballeros. He had four sons, and he continued to be documented in Almedina until 1537, when he was completely involved in making the now lost main altarpiece there. During that time, he must also have made Saint Anne, the Virgin, Saint Elizabeth, Saint John and the Christ Child (Museo del Prado). His unique style makes him one of the greatest 16th-century Spanish painters.

Artworks (7)

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