Front of the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas in Valencia

Front of the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas in Valencia
Front of the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas in Valencia

The idea of ​​overloading and horror vacui in the late-baroque sculpture and the rococo style surely has its maximum exponent in this cover of the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas in Valencia, a Spanish city where it is true that there is a special tendency towards this artistic style in its most motley aspect, and in fact there are several examples of top quality and in different artistic disciplines, as is the case of the mural paintings of the church of San Nicolás de Bari.


Front of the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas in Valencia

To get an idea of ​​this tendency towards overloaded art, it is enough to know that this cover had an initial design by a rococo painter, Hipólito Rivera, who also painted frescoes in the rest of the façade, although those exterior wall paintings have been lost over the centuries.

This is a work from 1745, when theMarques de Dos Aguascommissioned Hipólito Rivera to remodel his entire manor house in Valencia. For which he had the collaboration of various artists, including the sculptor Ignacio Vergara (1715 – 1776) who is the author of the cover. Vergara was a renowned Valencian sculptor, heir to a saga of artists and of whom we can find different carvings in the city's temples. But nevertheless, his great work is thiscover.

The door itself is completely surrounded by sculptures and reliefs made of alabaster. There is not a single centimeter without carving with the most allegorical images to praise the owners of the house. In fact, the main figures are two large Atlanteans, whose bodies seem to snake and slide down the wall, until they end up in two pitchers from which water comes out. In other words, it is an allusion to the title of the marquisate, as well as to the two main rivers of the Valencian lands: the Turia and the Júcar.

There are more vessels spilling water, as well as other elements loaded with meaning, such as lions, cornucopias, fruits, lots of plant decoration as well as various animals, heraldic elements, weapons and even two mermaids.

And in the highest part a niche in which a carving of the Virgin of the Rosary can be distinguished. Although it is not the original, but a later one. Initially for this niche, Vergara carved a polychrome wooden sculpture of the Virgin, which according to the chronicles was extremely beautiful, but in the course of history it disappeared and was replaced by the current one.

Overall it's definitely overwhelming, the visual overload is evident, and yet we still have to make a mental effort and imagine that when the rest of the façade was finished the surface was covered in colorful paintings. Of course, it had to be impressive for everyone who saw it, which, after all, was the objective of the person who had commissioned it and the artists who had commissioned it.materialized.

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