Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.

—for example, the choir reliefs at Toledo cathedral, and those in the Colegio Mayor at Salamanca by Alonzo Berruguete, sculptor, painter and architect, trained in Rome and Florence, and the greatest designer of Spain up to that time. He worked under Michelangelo and Vasari, and on his return to Spain in 1520 was appointed court painter and sculptor to Charles V. The same position was occupied under Philip II. by Gaspar Becerra (1520-1570), whose masterpiece is a figure of Our ~Lady of the Solitude, in Madrid. Esteban Jordan, Gregorio Hernandez and other Spanish sculptors produced a large number of elaborate retables, carved in wood with subjects in relief and richly decorated in gold and colours. These sumptuous masses of polychromatic sculpture resemble the I5tl'1-CCI1tllI'y retables of Germany more than any Italian examples, and were a sort of survival of an older medieval style. ]. -Morlanes was the first of Spanish sculptors to adopt the style of Albert Dürer, which afterwards became general. Philip de Vigarni, Christopher of Salamanca, and Paul de Cespedes, who was native of Cordova, are names of great prominence up to the end of the century. Alonzo Cano (1600-1667), the painter, was remarkable for clever realistic sculpture, very highly coloured and religious in style. Montafies, who died in 1614, was one of the ablest Spanish sculptors of his time. His finest works are the reliefs of the Madonna and Saints on an altar in the university church of Seville, and infthe cathedral, in the chapel of St Augustine, a very nobly designed Conception, modelled with great skill. In the 17th century sculpture in wood still prevailed. The statue of St Bruno of Montanez seems to have inspired others to repeat the subject in the same material: Juan 'de ]'uin (d. 1614) is a case in point. Pedro de Mena and Zarcillo achieved great success in this class of sculpture. A. Pujol of Catalonia and Peter Roldan carried on the Spanish tradition. The chief names in the 18th century are those of Don P. Duque Cornesso of Seville, Don ]. de Hinestrosa, A. Salvador (known as “the Roman, ” d. 1766), Philip de' Castro of Galicia, one of the most eminent sculptors of his time (d. 1775), and F. Gutierrez (d. 1782).l

If the immediate followers of Michelangelo showed a tendency to turn the characteristics of the master's style into exaggerated mannerism, the beginning of the 17th century finds izggrfe Italian sculpture in a state of complete decadence, 1, , t, b, statuesque dignity having given way to violent fluttering movement and ilorid excesses, such as was revived in a later century. From Italy this “ baroque ” style spread over the whole continent of Europe and retained its hold for nearly two centuries. The chief sculptor and architect of this period was the Neapolitan, ]. L. Bernini (1598-1680), who, with the aid of a large school of assistants, produced an almost incredible quantity of sculpture of the most varying degrees of merit and hideousness. . His chief early group, the Apollo and Daphne in the Villa Borghese, is a work of wonderful technical skill and delicate high finish, combined with soft beauty and grace, though too pictorial in style. In later life Bernini turned out work of brutal coarseness, ' designed in a thoroughly unsculpturesque spirit. The churches of Rome, the colonnade

of St Peter's, and the bridge of S. Angelo are crowded with his clumsy colossal figures, half draped in wildly fluttering garments, -perfect models of what is worst in the plastic art. And yet his works received perhaps more praise than those of any other sculptor of any age, and after his death a scaffolding was erected outside the bridge of S. Angelo in order that people might walk round and admire his rows of feeble half-naked angels. For all that, Bernini was a man of undoubted talent, and in a better period of art would have been a sculptor of the first rank; many

  • For the earlier history of Spanish sculpture, see Don luan

Augustin Cean Bermudez, Diccionaria historian de los mas illustres grofessores de las bellas aries en Espagna (Madrid, 1800, 6 vols.). or the later sculptors, see B. Handke, Studien zur Geschichte der spanischen Plastik (Strasburg, 1900).

  • The Ludovisi group of Pluto carrying off Proserpine, now in

the Borghese Gallery, is a striking example, and shows Berninl's deterioration of style in later life. It has nothing in common with the Cain and Abel or the Apollo and Daphne of his earlier years. of his portrait-busts are works of great vigour and dignity, quite free from the mannered extravagance of his larger sculpture. Stefano Maderna (1571-1636) was the ablest of his contemporaries; his clever and much-admired statue, the figure of the dead S. Cecilia under the high .altar of her basilica, is chiefly remarkable for its deathlike pose and the realistic treatment of the drapery. Another clever sculptor was Alessandro Algardi of'Bologna (1598?-1654), who formed a school, which included G. Brunelli, D. Guidi and C. Mazza of Bologna. I In the next century at Naples Queirolo, Corradini and Sammartino produced a number of statues, now in the chapel of S. Maria de' Sangri, which are extraordinary examples The -

of wasted labour and neglect of the simplest canons classlcisr of plastic art. These are marble statues enmeshed in 1'°""'“' 1" nets or covered with thin veils, executed with almost Italy deceptive realism, perhaps the lowest stage of tricky degradation into which the sculptor's art could possibly fall.3 In the 18th century' Italy was naturally the headquarters of the classical revival, which spread thence, throughout most of Europe. Canova' (1757-1822), a Venetian .by birth, who spent most of his life in Rome, was perhaps the leading spirit of this movement, and became the .most popular sculptor of his' time. His work is very unequal in merit, mostly dull and uninteresting in style, and is occasionally marred by a meretricious spirit very contrary to the true classic feeling. His group of the “ Three Graces, ” the “ Hebe, ” and the very popular “ Dancing-Girls, ” copies of which in plaster disfigure the stairs of countless modern hotels and other buildings on the Continent, are typical examples of Canova'$ worst work. Some of his sculpture is designed with far more of the purity that, distinguished antique art; his finest work is the colossal group of Theseus slaying a Centaur, at Vienna. Canova's attempts at Christian sculpture are singularly unsuccessful, as, for example, his pretentious monument to Pope Clement XIII. in St Peter's at Rome, that of Titian at Venice, and Alfieri's tomb in the Florentine church of S. Croce. F iesole in the 19th century produced one sculptor of great talent, named Bastianini. He worked in the style of the great 15th-century Florentine sculptors, and followed especially the methods of his distinguished fellow-townsman Mino da Fiesole. Many of. Bastianini's works are hardly to be distinguished from genuine sculpture of the 15th century, and in some cases great prices have been paid for them under the supposition that they were medieval productions. These frauds were, however, perpetrated without Bastianini's consent, or at least' without his power to prevent them. Several of his best terra-cotta works may be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Whilst monumental sculpture in France during the 17th century continued to be influenced by Italy, the national tradition was carried on to a certain extent by such In France portraitists as the two Coustous and their master Coysevox (1640-1720), whose works are marked by a great sense of life and considerable technical skill. The exaggerated elegance in the treatment of the female figure, which became so marked a characteristic of French sculpture during this period, is the chief trait of Francois Girardon (1630-1715), who was chiefly employed on the sculptural decorations .at Versailles, and on the famous equestrian statue of Louis XIV., which was destroyed during the Revolution and for which hundreds of exquisite drawings and studies weremade, now in the French national collection. F ar more strength and grandeur mark the work of Pierre Puget (1622-1694), who is best known by his “ Milo of Crotona” for Versailles. His training was entirely Italian, and in style considerably influenced by Bernini. He worked for some considerable time in Italy, particularly in Genoa. The same opposed movements which run side by side in French 18th-century painting, academic allegory and frivolous sensuality, can be traced in the sculpture of this period. Of In the 19th century an Italian sculptor named Monti won much popular repute by similar unworthy tricks; some veiled statues by hirn in the London Exhibition of 1851 were greatly admired; since then copies or imitations of them have enraptured the visitors who have crowded round the Italian sculpture stalls at every subsequent international exhibition.