1st Edition

The Cristos yacentes of Gregorio Fernández Polychrome Sculptures of the Supine Christ in Seventeenth-Century Spain

By Ilenia Colón Mendoza Copyright 2015
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    Analyzing seventeenth-century images of the dead Christ produced by Gregorio Fernández, author Ilenia Colón Mendoza investigates how and why the artist and his patrons manipulated these images in connection with the religious literature of the time to produce striking images that moved the faithful to devotion. In so doing, she contributes new findings to the topic of Spanish sacred sculpture. The author re-examines these sculptures not only in the context of a larger sculptural group but also as independent sculptures that were intended as powerful aids to contemplation and devotion as was prescribed by the writings of San Juan de la Cruz and Luis de Granada. Combining study of the sculptural works with that of liturgical sources, she reveals the connection between the written word and the sculpted work of art. Through this interdisciplinary approach, the author links Fernández's sculptural program with the strategic objectives of major patrons of the period, such as the Duke of Lerma and King Philip III of Spain, both fervent defenders of the Catholic faith.

    Contents: Introduction; The iconography of the Cristo yacente as Eucharistic symbol; Juni, Becerra, and Rincón: sculptural precedents for the Cristo yacente; Gregorio Fernández: patronage, style, technique, and the production of Cristos yacentes; Teatro Sacro: religious thought, ceremony, and procession in Counter-Reformation Spain; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.


    Ilenia Colón Mendoza is Assistant Professor of Art History at the School of Visual Arts and Design of the University of Central Florida, USA.

    "The scientific analysis of the images and their movement during processions as well as the discussion of contemporary criticism of the performative deceptive maneuvers in clerical discourse makes an important contribution to research.

    The research on Gregorio Fernández’s iconography, clients as well as the analysis of material and techniques of the eleven Yacentes and some workshop pieces brings together extensive primary sources and relevant secondary literature... Above all, the fourth chapter of the Teatro Sacro offers new imppetus. Together with the exemplary review of the current state of preservation and very detailed descriptions in the third chapter and in the catalog of works, this book complements previous analyzes decisively and offers a sound basis for subsequent research work."

    --Dr. Agathe Schmiddunser, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich in Kunstform

    "Concerned with the corpus of Cristos yacentes sculptures made by or attributed to the prominent sculptor Gregorio Fernández of Valladolid and his workshop, Ilenia Colón Mendoza highlights networks of artistic exchange and patronage in Spain as well as cataloguing Fernández’s contribution to this unique sculpture genre. As a work of art-historical cataloguing, this is a useful volume. It also serves as an accessible introduction to the Cristo yacente genre."

    --Dr. Nick Brodie, University of Tasmania in Parergon

    "To write a book on this imagery therefore requires an enterprising approach and a clear vision. Ilenia Colón Mendoza rises to the occasion with a study of the iconography, precursors, and examples of Cristos yacentes…In addition to the aforementioned strengths, Colón Mendoza consistently evaluates artworks as objects…The book likewise encourages additional study of an influential group of sculptures as well as the artist himself."

    --Jeffrey Schrader, University of Colorado (Denver) in Hispanic Research Journal