Another traditional name for this late 15th century (1494 – 1496) panel is Christ Enthroned, given the obvious position of Jesus on a throne, wearing a striking robe red and carrying a globe of the world in one hand, in the left, while with the right he blesses us.
That is to say that he is presented to us as Savior of the World and accompanied by the representation of the main characters of the Church. In addition to the Four Evangelists appearing are their symbolic Tetramorphs or the tables of the Law of Moses. In addition to a chalice with the consecrated host.
Christ Blessing by Fernando Gallego
The set is framed by some Gothic architectures typical of the time in which this panel was painted in Spain, where it is evident that the Flemish influence had arrived and that this painter had perfectly assimilated.
Although today it is in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, it was originally a painting for the church of San Lorenzo de Toro, in Zamora. And despite the fact that it may seem that it would be part of the great altarpiece of the temple, the latest studies practically assure that it was painted to adorn the tombs ofDon Pedro de Castilla el Viejo and his wife Beatriz.
Also the technical and x-ray studies carried out by the curators of the Madrid museum have discoveredthat at the base of the table there are drawings that were finally rejected and considerably varied. In fact, originally the image of Christ would possibly not be so friendly, instead he would be in a stronger attitude, typical of being the great judge of the Apocalypse.
The truth is that Fernando Gallego (c. 1468 – 1507) was one of the most relevant artists of religious painting in his time. Judging by the written documentation that tells us about multiple commissions he carried out, such as the altarpieces he made for various cathedrals in Plasencia, Coria, Ciudad Rodrigo or the church of Santa María de Trujillo. In addition, other works that he did for the University of Salamanca, or even for the cathedral temple of the same Castilian city.
And the large number of commissions was undoubtedly due to his great mastery of drawing. It is true that he had notions in the treatment of color that link him to the masters of Flemish Gothic, but his hallmark is his ability to draw thanks to which he captures details with extraordinary detail or it expands on elements that allow the perfect characterization of the characters represented.