The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, April 25, 2014


The San Diego Museum of Art announces the acquisition of Pedro de Mena's San Diego
The sculpture, which stands just over two feet tall, will be on view in the Museum’s gallery dedicated to Spanish art.
SAN DIEGO, CA.- The San Diego Museum of Art has acquired a remarkable polychromed wood sculpture by Pedro de Mena (1628–1688), among the greatest sculptors of the Spanish Baroque. Depicting San Diego de Alcalá, the work was created around 1665.

“Given the famous group of Spanish paintings at The San Diego Museum of Art, we have for several years sought a significant piece of Spanish Baroque sculpture to add to the collection,” says John Marciari, Curator of European Art. “The San Diego is precisely the sort of work we had in mind. Pedro de Mena’s extraordinary realism is the counterpart to our still life by Sánchez Cotán, while the ecstatic expression of the saint reminds one of our great Saint Peter by El Greco. Like both of those works, the sculpture simply commands attention. The fact that the work’s subject is San Diego de Alcalá, the namesake of our city, was a secondary concern but should only add to the piece’s popularity with our audiences.”

“Spain and Spanish art have long been important to me personally. When I arrived in San Diego two and a half years ago, I brought with me knowledge and deep appreciation of Spanish art” adds Roxana Velásquez, the Maruja Baldwin Executive Director for The San Diego Museum of Art. “Since my arrival, one of my ambitions has been to build on the great collection of European art already in San Diego. The new work by Pedro de Mena strengthens our collection of Spanish art. Combined with the acquisition of the Portrait of Don Luis de Borbón by Anton Raphael Mengs that we acquired last year, we are expanding important holdings for San Diego.”

San Diego de Alcalá, otherwise known as Saint Didacus, was born in Spain around 1400 to impoverished parents who placed him in the care of a religious hermit leaving outside Diego’s native town of San Nicolás del Puerto, near Seville. Following a religious vocation, Diego became a lay brother of the Franciscan order. He worked at monasteries in the Canary Islands, Spain, and Rome, Italy, before finally settling at the Convento de Santa María de Jesús in Alcalá, Spain, where he lived until 1463. He spent much time working in the infirmary of these monasteries and is said to have brought about miraculous cures to those in his care. The earliest depictions of San Diego following his canonization in 1588 show his healing miracles, but in seventeenth-century Spain, however, another miracle came to be the standard form of the saint’s iconography, and it is this miracle that is depicted in Mena’s sculpture: Diego was devoted to the poor and often took them bread from the monastery table. During a shortage of food at the monastery, Diego was forbidden to do so but continued to take bread to the poor, hiding it in the folds of his monastic habit. On one occasion, the superior of the monastery caught Diego in the act of taking bread and challenged him to show what he was carrying in his bundled robes. When Diego looked down, the bread was miraculously changed into roses. As was often the case for sculptures depicting this miracle, the roses are not carved, for the faithful would place real or silk flowers in the lap of the sculpture.

“It has been said of Pedro de Mena that he was unsurpassed in conveying religious feeling,” adds Marciari. “That is fully evident here in the expression on the saint’s face, which simultaneously captures his guilt in being caught stealing and his awe at the miracle that then occurs.”

Pedro de Mena, born in Granada, was the son of Alonso de Mena, who operated the most active sculptural workshop in the city. Alonso died, however, when Pedro was only 18 years old. Pedro assumed control of the workshop, but in 1652, Alonso Cano returned to Granada, and Pedro, still only 24, fell entirely under Cano’s influence. Cano had spent the previous decades in Seville and Madrid, where he worked alongside the greatest sculptors (Juan Martínez Montañés) and painters (Diego Velázquez) in Spain. Mena quickly assimilated the lessons offered by Cano, and when around 1655 Cano was given the commission to produce four life-sized sculptures for the convent of the Angelo Custodio, he entrusted Mena with the project. Those sculptures, representing Saints Anthony, Diego, Peter of Alcantara, and Joseph, are Mena’s first major works, and although executed under Cano, they established him as an important independent master. Shortly afterwards, Mena was offered the project to carve the choir stalls in the cathedral at Malaga. He moved to Malaga in 1658 and remained there for the rest of his life, occasionally travelling to Granada, Toledo, or Madrid, but for the most part, producing works in Malaga that would be sent to patrons around Spain.

Mena’s most important works include the aforementioned sculptures for the Angelo Custodio in Granada of around1655 (now at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Granada); his Saint Francis for Toledo Cathedral of 1663; his Mary Magdalene of 1664 for the Jesuit Casa Profesa in Madrid (now at the Museo Nacional Colegio de San Gregorio in Valladolid); and paired sculptures of the Mater Dolorosa and Man of Sorrows, for example the royally-commissioned set at the Descalzas Reales in Madrid. Although relatively little known outside of Spain, Mena was one of the revelations in the ground-breaking exhibition The Sacred Made Real held at the National Gallery in London and the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 2009-10.

The sculpture, which stands just over two feet tall, will be on view in the Museum’s gallery dedicated to Spanish art, alongside paintings by El Greco, Sánchez Cotán, Zurbarán, Cano, Murillo, and others. The work has been purchased with funds from the Estate of Donald W. Shira, a bequest of $7.4 million that The San Diego Museum of Art received this year.



Today's News

January 25, 2013

Mexican archaeologists find complex panel of 1,000 year-old petroglyphs in Nayarit

Getty Research Institute launches database of German art sales records from 1930-1945

Surrealism and the art of drawing is the subject of a major exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum

National Portrait Gallery reunites portraits of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon after 500 years

Inez & Vinoodh open first exhibition of photographs with Gagosian Gallery in Paris

After searching several locations, Romanian police still looking for art stolen in Dutch heist

Top lot in Bonhams 19th century sale makes over double the pre-sale estimate

Moscow Museum of Modern Art opens first major retrospective of Olga Tobreluts

First retrospective of Indian-born printmaker Zarina spans five decades of her career

Masterpiece London appoints independent art advisor Nazy Vassegh as Chief Executive

Five masterpieces return to The Hague after going on a successful travelling exhibition in Japan

Exhibition focuses on spirit of innovation and collectivity in new Finnish photography

Emperor's treasured miniature up for auction at Bonhams New York during Asia Week

Witness From Baghdad: Halim Al Karim's on view at Artspace London

Bonhams to sell original of world's most reproduced fine art print: "Chinese Girl" by Tretchikoff

Steve McQueen Chevrolet Styleline leads exciting list of celebrity rides at Auctions America sale

The San Diego Museum of Art announces the acquisition of Pedro de Mena's San Diego

Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries present exhibition of selections from The Cochran Collection

The Gallery at Norwich University of the Arts presents recent works on canvas by Avis Newman

Photorealism Revisited opens at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Fourth Annual Collectors Evening secures four new acquisitions for the High Museum of Art

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Newly discovered Imperial Fabergé Easter egg: A critical note from a Fabergé collector

2.- Tate opens most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Matisse's paper cut-outs

3.- First North American survey of the work of Ai Weiwei opens at Brooklyn Museum

4.- The importance of sky studies in landscape art is the subject of the first exhibition in a new Morgan series

5.- Beautiful Bentleys and a 'Rambo Lambo' amongst highlights for sale at Bonhams

6.- Retrospective is the first to encompass Sigmar Polke's works across all mediums

7.- Exhibition presents 100 top-class masterpieces from the collection of the Albertina

8.- Lost treasure found after almost 100 years: Wartski exhibits missing Fabergé egg

9.- Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles acquires a rare 16th century "Book of Friends"

10.- Exhibition of masterpieces from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty brings imperial splendor to the U.S.



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site