Chapel of the Luna, Toledo Cathedral

Chapel of the Luna, Toledo Cathedral
Chapel of the Luna, Toledo Cathedral

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance a large number of cathedrals were built all over the world, financing such large constructions was not always easy and often the works were delayed over time due to lack of financial resources. In this sense, it was common for parishioners to participate in donations to help build the cathedral and many nobles played a decisive role in the construction, so much so that the we althiest and most powerful families used to finance the construction of a chapel in the interior of the temple to serve them as a way of rest and eternal glory. In this way, we are not surprised to find inside the great cathedrals or some important churches, small chapels that bear the name of the nobles buried there.


The work we are analyzing here is called the Chapel of Santiago or the Chapel of the Lunas and is located in the ambulatory of the Cathedral of Toledo. It seems that its Construction was commissioned by Don Álvaro Luna, Constable of Castile, favorite of the monarch Juan II of Castile and master of the Order of Santiago. The chapel was built in the first half of the 15th century, specifically in the year 1434, and was built in the same space occupied by three old chapels in the ambulatory, which is why today it is one of the largest in the Cathedral. It has octagonal lift and stylistically thewe could fit into the flamboyant style.

At the death of Don Álvaro in 1453, the works had not yet been completed, so his wife, Doña Juana de Pimentel took charge of the construction and later, taking over from her, the daughter of her, Maria de Luna. It was precisely María who ordered the construction of the sarcophagi in which the bodies of her parents rest, he flanked by the knights of the Order of Santiago and she by some Franciscan monks.

The chapel is completed with a precious altarpiece that Doña María de Luna commissioned from the painters Sancho de Zamora and Juan de Segovia. It presents a predella with five canvases, of which the central one represents Lamentation over the body of the dead Christ, as well as five streets and two bodies that are finished off with an image of the Virgen de la Leche. In reality, and despite the numerous studies that have been carried out on the piece, to this day experts are still unable to determine to which of the artists each of the panels belongs.

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