miércoles, 13 de febrero de 2008

Spanish Baroque Sculpture.

While in Italy and France the big baroque sculpture is developed following Bernini, using marble and bronze, with a wide range of subjects from mythology and allegory, in Spain the most common is the sculpture in polychrome wood, exclusively religious, that is, completely, to the service of the counter-Reform piteous sensibility. The images of Christ, the Virgin and Saints, especially Spanish, are dominant as subjects. In addition to this, the artists were able of depict feelings in the images: pain, anguish, death, and ecstasy.

Sculptors tend to approach reality to the religious fact depicted to provoke the emotion of the person who assists to the Easter parades. In them the saint appear as alive characters, near to their daily routine. This influence of the religious multiplies the demand for religious images. The popular piety of the comrades originates the Parade Paso (from the Latin passus=sufferance). The Easter parades became the maximum expression of popular faith. The altarpieces are decorated with freestanding images that can be used for the parades.

The pessimism and the attitude of a society in crisis limit the development of funerary sculpture.

The desire of depicting reality multiplies the effects. Firstly, images are polychrome, putting apart the stuffed or use of gold, in order to create more realistic images with plain colours in the clothes, and even wearing them with real clothes, in the case of the “images to dress”, that have only carved the head, hands and feet. This interest reach to use natural hair, nails, teeth or even eyes and glass eyes and tears, animal skin to depict open injuries. It is the peak of the hyper realistic baroque theatrical effects.

At the beginning Spanish sculpture did not follow the dynamism and theatrality of the Italian models and was directly linked to the Renaissance and Mannerism, with the only advance of the naturalism. From mid 17th century and on, in the Court and in Andalusia it started the Berninian baroque that was fully incorporated at the end of the century.

There are two main sculpture regions in Spain. Both schools are hyper realistic:
-Castile, with Valladolid, where Gregorio Fernandez worked.
Images are injured, with pain or emotion always in surface; realism is violent, of dramatic gestures. Fernandez abandoned the golden effect to change them by plain colours.

-Andalusia, centred in Seville, with Juan Martínez Montañés, and in Granade with Alonso Cano and Pedro de Mena.
It is quiet, calm, looking for the correct beauty without forgetting the spiritual content. It is the classicist realism that drove to the mystic exaltation. They maintained largely the use of gold.

In the 18th century the Levantine group appeared, in Elche but mainly in Murcia, with Francisco Salzillo, the author who closes the baroque sculpture and opens the taste for the classicism.

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