Sepulcher of Don Juan de Alburquerque

Sepulcher of Don Juan de Alburquerque
Sepulcher of Don Juan de Alburquerque

This is a tomb made to honor the Portuguese nobleman Dom Joao de Alburquerque, which was initially placed in the Cathedral or Sé of the city of Aveiro , although the work is now exhibited in the Museum of the same city, located in the old Convento de Jesús.

This is a sculptural work made of limestone between 1495 and 1496, and whose style is ascribed to the so-called Coimbra School. And precisely in the vicinity of the city of Coimbra, that soft white stone, called Ança, was also extracted.

Tomb of Don Juan de Alburquerque

Don Juan de Alburquerque's tomb

When the tomb was made, in reality he had already been dead for many years Juan de Alburquerque, who died in 1483. However, although this nobleman had donated the money and hired the construction of this mausoleum, the truth is that his children were involved in the struggles of the moment against the Portuguese king Joao II, and for this reason they could not dedicate themselves to honoring the memory of their father, and they had to wait until the death of that Portuguese monarch in 1495 to carry out this work. And it is even known that they built a provisional mausoleum.

The style is the usual one in the Portuguese Gothic sculpture of those years, completely dominated by the workshops of the city of Coimbra since the 14th century.

Inthis and many other medieval tombs, everything is dominated by the symbology and the praises of the honored character. Starting with the very base of the ark, seated on some large lions, an image of power where they exist.

Then there are the coats of arms of the aristocrat and also of his wife. A heraldry worthy of being held by the angels themselves, as we see it here. Although in the case of the coat of arms of his wife Helena, we see that those who carry it are figures who identify themselves with "savages", which does not speak of the entrance of the taste for the exotic also in the Portuguese country.

We must not forget that Portugal was going to become a colonial power, with territories practically spread all over the globe. And in addition, Don Juan himself had participated in several expeditions to the Canary Islands and also to North Africa.

And already in the upper part the recumbent body of Don Juan de Alburquerque is represented. A figure in a very rigid position, armed as a knight and again with a lion at his feet

The truth is that the author wanted to make a portrait of the character and for that he has his face and head uncovered, however the truth is that he did not succeed.

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