High altarpiece of Huesca Cathedral

High altarpiece of Huesca Cathedral
High altarpiece of Huesca Cathedral
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The sculptor Damián Forment (c. 1475 – 1540) is considered by many researchers to be one of the greatest artists who worked in the Crown of Aragonduring the first half of the 16th century, and it is so thanks to works such as this one for the Cathedral of Huesca, and others such as the preceding altarpiece he made for theBasilica del Pilar in the nearby city of Zaragoza.

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High Altarpiece of Huesca Cathedral

In fact, when he was commissioned by Don Juan de Aragón to make the altarpiece from Huesca, he was obliged by contract to follow the guidelines that he himself had established in her Pilar work.

He received the commission in 1520, and since it is a work of enormous scope in which a lot of time has to be invested, Damián Forment has to settle in Huesca with his family, and even open his workshop there.

And of course he was there for a few years, since the job was big, plus he had pretty strict contract terms. For example, there was talk of figures that should have a size as close as possible to life. However, as is often the case with this type of work, the truth is that the initial idea was also undergoing changes as the work evolved.

Even so, the result of this enormous altarpiece made of alabaster is truly admirable. It's a great setsculptural composed of a lower area that is the underbench, then a double bench that is the base of a large central body divided vertically into three streets. And finally, in the highest area is what is called the dust cover.

The underbench and the bench area is very interesting because of the scenes depicted on the Passion of Christ, but it is especially attractive because there the artist included two medallions, in which he took a self-portrait and included a portrait of his daughter Úrsula.

While the central body is conceived as a monumental triptych, where each of its streets or faces is dedicated to a single scene. Those scenes are the Road to Calvary, the Crucifixion and the subsequent Descent.

Obviously there are countless figures that become almost architectural and ornamental elements of the important scenes. Although it is always about figures that show the amazing technical mastery of this author. A great master of alabaster work. A material with a similar appearance to marble, although easier to work with thanks to its lower hardness, an advantage that for unskilled hands can be a real drawback, since its fragility can cause it to fracture and break easily.

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