Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Ecstasy of St. Mary Magdalene, c. 1690. Polychrome terracotta, 12 in × 17 1/2 in  × 9 7/8 in. (30.5 cm × 44.5 cm × 25.1 cm). On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York.

I H’Art This: All Roads Lead to Spain

A short weekly spotlight on art and other cool bits of culture that I’m currently digging. For some reason, to no fault of my own, Spain seems to be the common thread in this week’s offerings.


Baroque Spanish Polychrome Sculptures

On my way out from seeing Camp: Notes on Fashion with my art husband Paul (a dear friend and an incredibly gifted artist–watch this space for news on his solo show in the near futuro!), we stumbled upon some beautiful polychrome sculptures, newly displayed near the European Sculpture Court at the Met. Make sure to see them if you visit the Met, two of them are currently on temporary loan from the Hispanic Society of America.

Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Entombment of Christ, 1700-1.
Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Entombment of Christ, 1700-1. Polychrome terracotta, 19 1/2 in × 26 in × 17 in. (49.5 cm × 66 cm × 43.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Ecstasy of St. Mary Magdalene, c. 1690. Polychrome terracotta, 12 in × 17 1/2 in  × 9 7/8 in. (30.5 cm × 44.5 cm × 25.1 cm). On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York.
Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Ecstasy of St. Mary Magdalene, c. 1690. Polychrome terracotta, 12 in × 17 1/2 in  × 9 7/8 in. (30.5 cm × 44.5 cm × 25.1 cm). On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York.
Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Repose in Egypt, c. 1690. Polychrome terracotta, 16 1/8 in × 18 1/8 in × 12 in. (41 cm × 46 cm × 30.5 cm). On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York.
Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Repose in Egypt, c. 1690. Polychrome terracotta, 16 1/8 in × 18 1/8 in × 12 in. (41 cm × 46 cm × 30.5 cm). On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York.

These three polychrome sculptures depicting The Entombment of Christ, The Repose in Egypt, and The Ecstasy of St Mary Magdalene were all executed by Luisa Ignacia Roldán (1652-1701), Spain’s first documented female sculptor. She became the court sculptor of both Charles II and Philip V of Spain in 1692.

detail from Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Entombment of Christ, 1700-1.
detail from Luisa Ignacia Roldán, The Entombment of Christ, 1700-1.

These delicate, yet intensely evocative polychrome sculptures show Roldán’s mastery of depicting fine features and a gamut of emotions as each figure interacts with another.

The angels’ wings, seen in The Ecstacy of St Mary Magdalene (1) and The Repose in Egypt (2) reminded me of the technicolor ones seen in Carlo Crivelli’s The Annunciation with Saint Emidius (3) and Albrecht Dürer’s Wing of a European Roller (4).

Carlo Crivelli, The Annunciation with Saint Emidius, 1486.
Carlo Crivelli, The Annunciation with Saint Emidius, 1486. Oil and egg on canvas, 81 in × 57.8 in (207 cm × 146.7 cm). The National Gallery, London.
Albrecht Dürer, Wing of a European Roller, 1512. Watercolor on vellum, 7.7 in × 7.9 in (19.6 cm × 20 cm). The Albertina, Vienna.
Albrecht Dürer, Wing of a European Roller, 1512. Watercolor on vellum, 7.7 in × 7.9 in (19.6 cm × 20 cm). The Albertina, Vienna.


The Spanish Princess: A Costumer’s Dream  

Catherine and her entourage arrive in England, The Spanish Princess, 2019
Catherine and her entourage arrive in England, The Spanish Princess, 2019

I’ve also been heavily invested in watching Starz’ The Spanish Princess, a historical period drama based on Philippa Gregory’s two novels, The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse. While it is riddled with historical inaccuracies (Henry VIII, who was 11 when Catherine married his brother Arthur was not old enough to woo her as is seen in the series).

As for the costumes, they are a combination of Italian and Spanish styles from the 16th century, and are mostly historically accurate (any Fashion/Dress Historians out there, please feel free to let me know if that is not the case). Catherine was noted for bringing the farthingale, a rigid structure that was worn under women’s skirts to give them a bell-like shape, to England. This stiff hoop originated in Spain (called a verdugado) (5) where they were worn on the outside the skirt, as seen worn by Charlotte Pope in episode 1 (6). The farthingale would later become synonymous with Tudor fashion.

Lina de Cardoñes, The Spanish Princess, 2019
Lina de Cardoñes, The Spanish Princess, 2019
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Lina de Cardoñes and Oviedo, The Spanish Princess, 2019.

Nevertheless, the costumes are stunning, and I like the fact that Catherine’s ladies-in-waiting, Lina de Cardoñes (see above) and Rosa de Vargas (see below, on left) have gowns that are equally as beautiful as their mistress.

Rosa
(left) Rosa de Vargas and (right) Lina de Cardoñes, The Spanish Princess, 2019.

Leave a comment and let me know what’s currently on your culture radar!

 

 

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