Altarpiece of Ex altation of the Holy Cross of Blesa

Altarpiece of Ex altation of the Holy Cross of Blesa
Altarpiece of Ex altation of the Holy Cross of Blesa
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This jewel of Gothic art was commissioned by the parish church of Blesa, in the Spanish province of Teruel, to two renowned painters of the time in the Kingdom of Aragon: Miguel Jiménez and Martín Bernat. Both with their respective workshops began to work on this work in the year 1481, and created one of the best works of the Aragonese Gothic. A set of oil painting, with a lot of light and color, of great realism in the forms and with a lot of expressiveness. It is not surprising that many scholars see in them the influence of the great masters of Flemish painting, especially Roger Van der Weyden.

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Adoration of the Holy Cross

The church for which they did it was the parish of the Holy Cross, which is why, being its main altarpiece, it dedicated itself to ex alting precisely that: the Holy Cross. The truth is that the altarpiece has been changing its location over the centuries, in fact now it is exhibited in the Museo de Zaragoza, but it has also not always been complete. For example, a few years ago one of his boards was found in a private collection in the United States. For this reason, after an effective restoration and many studies, the altarpiece is currently mounted in a specific way, but it cannot be guaranteed with absolute certainty that its original layout was that.

However, beyond that, there are values ​​of the work that do not escapeno one. For example, the documentary value of it. The different scenes are set in a medieval environment, which, given the quality and detail of the artists, is a fabulous portrait of the fashion, architecture or decoration of the fifteenth century.

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Blesa Altarpiece

All of this to represent a good number of tables distributed throughout the different parts that make up an altarpiece. From bottom to top, you start with the underbench. There are images of the prophets, while the Apostles take place on the bench and also a scene of the Annunciation.

Later there are the tables of the central street, with the main scenes that are the Adoration of the Holy Cross, the Final Judgment and the Crucifixion. While to the left and right there are other allusive themes such as Jesus before Caiaphas, Jesus carrying the Cross or the Descent (all on the left side) and the images of Saint Helena, the interrogation of the Jew, and Elena with the Emperor Heraclius at gates of Jerusalem (all on the right side).

And finally, various angelic tables appear on the overalls.

In short, this is a supreme work of about 750 cm high, which may seem incredible to us that it was carried out for a small town like Blesa, but the truth is that at that time of certain prosperity, any small town was able to invest large sums of money in his religious works, and in fact there was a competition between localities, so the artistic environment was one of developmentmore than remarkable.

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