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The Holy Family with Saints Anne and Joachim

Diego de Pesquera (Spanish, Castile (?), ca. 1540–after 1581, Mexico (?), active 1563–80)

Date:
1567–68
Culture:
Spanish, Granada
Medium:
Wood, painted and gilt
Dimensions:
Overall (confirmed): H. 62 3/8 x W. 41 7/8 x D. 4 in. (158.4 x 106.4 x 10.2 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Bequest of Helen Hay Whitney, 1944
Accession Number:
45.128.5
  • Description

    This panel came from a retable made for the parish church of Los Ojíjares, near Granada, which was dedicated to Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin. Saint Anne and her husband, Joaquim, prominently featured in the relief, were honored in Catholic devotion as emblems of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, a cult that was especially popular in Spain. The panel remained in place from its creation in the mid-sixteenth century until it was sold in 1881.

    A record of its commission in 1567 establishes that Diego de Pesquera carved the relief; the painting and gilding were entrusted to other specialists. The surface is amazingly intact, and the relief is a model display of the Spanish estofado technique, in which gilding and polychromy interact in vibrant patterns. Brocaded fabrics are imitated with particular skill.

    The sculptor clearly was aware of developments in Italian Renaissance art. There is an attractive naturalism in the broad forms of the healthy wriggling infant. Equally striking is the elegantly mannered attenuation of the Virgin and Saint Anne.

  • Provenance

    Helen Hay Whitney (until 1944; bequeathed to MMA)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
199674

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