The production La Roldana focused on two types of works. On the one hand, some polychrome wooden sculptures that on many occasions were practically life-size. We talked about this type of work before when we presented a figure of Saint Michael the Archangel.
Head of Saint Paul of La Roldana
However, today we are going to talk about his other creative side, that is, the figures and reliefs that he made in polychrome clay. This large medallion with the Head of Saint Paul is made of this material, a work that can be found in the Hispanic Society of America, inNew York, a historic institution in the Big Apple where many works of Spanish art are accumulated, including several by Luisa Ignacia Roldán, La Roldana, so called for being the daughter of image maker Pedro Roldán.
Although it can be said that she surpassed her father in prestige, since this Baroque artist reached the rank of chamber sculptor in the royal court of Spain, both under the reign of Carlos II and later with Felipe V.
The truth is that for a long time, her womanhood hid some of her achievements. Without going any further, both this head of Saint Paul and the pair of it dedicated to Saint Peter, also in the New York museum, were for a long time attributed to her father. However, in-depth studies did it justice andidentified as her works.
Because the reality is that she obviously took her first steps in sculpture together withPedro Roldán, but she ended up opening her own workshop. And not only that, her husband worked as an assistant there. Her fame and recognition at the time was much greater than we can imagine. She and even she came to carry out projects together with great painters such asValdés Lealand even theBartolomé Estebán Murillo. And a painter of the time likeAntonio Palominodefined her as follows: “her modesty was great; her expertise superior; and the virtue of it, extraordinary.”
Undoubtedly because of her work, which is as subtle as it is elegant, we are dealing with sculptures worthy of being considered among the best of theSpanish Baroque, without distinguishing between the work done by men or women. This was the case in her time and in the decades immediately following her death in 1706. After her death, however, her name was gradually and inexplicably forgotten. Until a few years ago, her work was rediscovered and she was revalued. This has helped one of the great artists of the Baroque period to be considered again as she deserves from her.