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Ricardo Fernández Gracia, Director of the Chair of Navarrese Heritage and Art.

Heritage and identity (15). Burins, brushes and chisels at the service of illustrious Navarrese (and III).

Fri, 21 Jun 2019 11:09:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

If the presence of memorials of prominent Navarrese men in public places was important, as we saw in their commemorative monuments, their portraits did not lag behind, both in their ancestral homes and in their religious and charitable foundations. Later, they reached a preeminent place in the salons of the houses of the bourgeoisie, from the 19th century onwards. Most issue of them were made in oil painting, although there were also some busts, drawings and engraved prints.

The portrait as a pictorial genre had reached its maturity throughout the sixteenth century, both in its more psychological and intimate version, generally of small size, and in the so-called court portrait, intended for public exhibition , in its different versions. In the following century, it acquired great development in the different European schools, while, in the hierarchy of painting genres, it occupied an ambiguous position. On the one hand, being God's workmanship, it would be at the top, but on the other hand, by celebrating the individual, it would clash with many moralists who saw in it a glorification of vanity staff.

We will review the less known due to their dispersion, which are those prior to the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, programs of study, monographs and exhibitions already allow us to know numerous specimens.


Portraits in convent and charitable foundations

If the noble coats of arms on the façades of hospitals, convents and other foundations made it clear to society who had made those institutions possible, the portraits inside them, in different rooms, staircases or doorways, reminded those who lived there of the perpetual report and gratitude to their promoters. high school From the convents of the Recoletas of Pamplona or the Poor Clares of Arizcun to the visitors' lounge of the Jesuits of Tudela, the representations of their founders are faithful evocators of their history. There is no doubt that many of them were lost with the disappearance of convents and the dissolution of historical patronages that governed so many other foundations.

The founders of the Augustinian Recollect Nuns, the Marquises of Montejaso, sent to Pamplona two large and magnificent paintings invoice, works by Juan Rici (1617). They are undoubtedly the best examples of the sixteenth century preserved in Navarre, made with a refined technique and with an important load of symbolic elements. Both share the characteristics, masterfully exposed by Pérez Sánchez, for the classic Spanish portrait: gravity, austerity, restraint, poise, sobriety, individual intensity and somewhat rigid haughtiness, without forgetting verisimilitude. The natural son of the marquis and archdeacon of the Chamber of the cathedral of Pamplona also has his in the same convent, a work attributed to Felipe Diricksen.

The same happened with the patrons of the convent of Poor Clares of Arizcun, Don Juan Bautista de Arizcun and Doña Manuela Munárriz, Marquises of Murillo (c. 1739). In this case they were painted by Antonio González Ruiz, a native of Corella who played an important role in the creation and development of the Royal Academy of San Fernando.

The Capuchin nuns of Tudela kept in their convent that of Don Pedro Conchillos (c. 1670), founder of the beaterio of Tudela that was included in the Capuchin nuns of the same city in 1736, and a maker in the collegiate church of Tudela, on several occasions, throughout the third quarter of the 17th century.

The custom of placing great benefactors in prominent places in some institutions has survived until recent times. The portrait of the benefactor and then prior of Roncesvalles, Joaquín Javier Úriz y Lasaga, was placed in the chapter house of the Inclusa of Pamplona at conference room . The City Council of Pamplona ordered it to be painted in 1804, its author being Diego Díaz del Valle, in 1805. A bust of the same benefactor was on the façade of the building, in the same way as Bishop Fernández de Piérola in the Otiñano schools.

The conference room of visits of the high school of the Jesuits of Tudela had two large portraits, made in charcoal, corresponding to Doña Josefa Lecumberri (signed by Lezaun, 1898) and Don Ramón Velaz de Medrano, Marquis of Fontellas, as outstanding people in making that educational institution of the capital of La Ribera, established in 1891, a reality. Asylums, houses of mercy and other charitable foundations also had paintings, engravings or busts sculpted by their patrons.


In the noble houses

The topic of the nobiliary portraits in Navarre is still to be studied, above all, because of their location. Little by little, we are getting to know some examples of unequal quality and importance. The inventories of goods usually describe them very briefly, barely with the degree scroll. Their large size and the context in which they were found have not been circumstances that have favored their conservation. In some cases, there was a gallery for the great men of the house, such as the one painted by Diego Díaz del Valle for the Marquises of San Adrián in the last years of the 18th century, which has since disappeared.

Undoubtedly, the characters that made up what Julio Caro Baroja called "the Navarrese time of the XVIII century" had portraits. Some of them, such as those of Don Juan de Goyeneche, painted by Miguel Jacinto Meléndez, are known to us, but not all of them were in their homes in Navarre. The one of Don Miguel de Arizcun, work of Antonio Gonzalez Ruiz, with all certainty, was located in his palace of Arizcunenea de Elizondo. Recently, Professor Pilar Andueza has studied and published with the suggestive degree scroll "Poniendo rostro a la hora navarra" those of María Antonia Goyeneche Indaburu (c. 1768), granddaughter of Juan de Goyeneche, the main protagonist of "la hora navarra", following models of Mengs and his son, the child Miguel José de Borda y Goyeneche, made in 1770, of lesser quality, but of great iconographic interest.

The Museum of Navarre preserves the A of José María Magallón y Armendáriz, Marquis of San Adrián, painted by Goya, undoubtedly the most important work of Navarrese characters due to its elegance and technical quality. The work of the Aragonese painter, signed in 1804, stands out for the beautiful landscape and, above all, for the nobleman dressed in riding costume, wielding the riding crop with arrogant disdain. The brilliant painter also portrayed other characters of Navarrese origin such as Juan Martín de Goicoechea, a native of Bacaicoa (1790), Miguel de Múzquiz y Goyeneche from Baztan (1783), Francisco Javier Larumbe, with family origins in Lumbier (1787) and José Luis Munárriz from Estella (1815).


Episcopal and religious portraits

Pamplona did not have a great episcopal gallery like those of Tarazona, Zaragoza or Burgos. The first portrait located in the episcopal palace was that of Don Francisco Añoa y Busto, later archbishop of Zaragoza, probably because the construction of the building was completed during his pontificate. Bishop Gaspar de Miranda y Argaiz was portrayed on several occasions, but no copy was left in the capital of Navarre. In his birthplace in Calahorra and in the parish church of San Andrés in the same city, several full-length portraits of the prelate can be seen. We also know the one of Irigoyen and Dutari and the one of Úriz and Lasaga (Diego Díaz del Valle, 1817), from his native houses. In the cathedral of Pamplona we can see those of Andriani (Vicente López, c. 1848), Úriz y Labairu (c.1865), Oliver y Hurtado (E. Carceller, c. 1880), Ruiz Cabal (E. Zubiri, 1889), López y Mendoza (García Asarta, 1908), even the seiscentist one of Prudencio de Sandoval, acquired by the chapter in 2002. That of the first bishop of the diocese of Tudela, Don Francisco Ramón Larumbe, by Diego Díaz del Valle in 1797, a year after his death, is in the sacristy of the cathedral of the capital of La Ribera.

However, portraits of Navarrese bishops who were at the head of bishoprics in the peninsula and in the Americas are preserved in the Comunidad Foral. It was another way for the homeland to be present in places located hundreds and thousands of kilometers away from the places where they were born. Some, like the Archbishop of Mexico Don José Pérez de Lanciego or Bishop Don Martín de Elizacoechea de Azpilcueta, sent theirs from New Spain to their towns, in some cases duplicated or triplicated, with multiple destinations. In the palace of Muruzábal the one of the son of the house and bishop of Calahorra Don Juan Juaniz de Echálaz was conserved. Those of other Navarrese who occupied other episcopal chairs in Spain or overseas are also known. In their corresponding inscriptions, their origin is always noted.

As for canons, we will highlight three from different periods, that of the archdeacon of Calahorra and Navarre Juan Miguel Mortela, a work from the second third of the 18th century, that of Secundino Vitriain (I. García Asarta, 1908) and that of Carlos Lorea (J. M. Ascunce). The first of these is preserved in the cathedral of Pamplona and presents the great patron of the arts and collector that Mortela was, who came to have paintings by Escalante, Rafael, Ribera, Cotto, Maratta, Murillo and Palomino.

Some male and female convents must have had, undoubtedly, the representations of their founders. The processes of suppression of convents and monasteries in the first third of the 19th century and the final disentailment of Mendizábal, so disastrous from the point of view of cultural heritage, would put an end to this subject of pieces. The portraits of famous nuns for their virtue and sanctity are preserved, among which stand out those of the Venerable Catalina de Cristo in San José y los Descalzos de Pamplona, as well as those of some foundresses such as Mother Constanza de San Pablo de Recoletas de Pamplona or that of Sister Lucía Margarita Aguilera y Cerro in the Capuchinas de Tudela. Outside Navarre, in the high school de la Isla de San Fernando, of the Company of Mary, the one of Mother Petronila de Aperregui (1788), from Tudela and founder of that Andalusian house is kept.

The Carmen of Sangüesa counted on that of Fray Raimundo Lumbier, the one of Pamplona on that of Fray Santiago Huarte y Lubián, provincial of the Carmelitas Calzados of Aragón. Both are conserved in Sangüesa and the Discalced Carmelites of Pamplona, respectively. Those who enjoyed a reputation of sanctity were more fortunate, such as that of Fray Vicente Bernedo, with a painting in Santiago de Puente la Reina and an intaglio print, or that of Brother Juan de Jesús San Joaquín, whose images are conserved in the Recoletas and the Discalced Carmelites of Pamplona, having also had an engraved copy.

To the cathedral of Pamplona arrived, surely through a nephew of his, that of the Jesuit Miguel de Sagardoy (Villanueva de Aézcoa, 1679 - Salamanca, 1760) in a canvas, by the way, slashed with viciousness, where he appears with his books that allude to his intellectual work and is accompanied by a long registration that glosses it and begins highlighting its origin: "Te Navarra dedit terris, Salamantica caelo".

To conclude these lines dedicated to the portrait of men of the Church, it will not be superfluous to recall the aversion to be painted by some of the most outstanding religious of the centuries of the Modern Age, such as Fray Luis de Granada, St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa, Mother Agreda or Viceroy Palafox.


The bourgeoisie and the liberal professions from the 19th century onwards.

The time of the bourgeoisie came with the triumph of liberalism. Doctors, industrialists, men of the judiciary and the teaching or the militia had themselves painted with the goal to hang those pictures in the halls of their elegant homes. The economic and political power had passed from the hands of the nobility to a bourgeoisie, in the case of Navarre not very powerful, but important enough to undertake those commissions that carried social prestige. The portraits are usually smaller than those of previous centuries, suitable to be placed in the mansions of the new emerging social classes. The personages who held decorations typical of the award law, show them on their uniforms or suits and the tools of their profession usually appear next to the doctors, while the books, usually without the large shelves of past centuries, are affiliated with the intellectual work of others.

From the middle of the 19th century, painters established in Pamplona or Tudela received commissions for the wealthier classes, although the latter opted to place their commissions in Zaragoza, Madrid, Barcelona and other cities. The examples are abundant and respond to the artistic tendencies of each moment. programs of study by I. Urricelqui, J. Zubiaur, C. Alegría, J. M. Muruzábal or P. Fernández, among others, place us before the works of this genre of the great Navarrese painters. Naturally, a great majority of them were due to the initiative of the private clientele. None of the painters from Navarre or established in Navarre, such as Carceller, Asenjo, Zubiri, Ciga, Ascunce, Basiano, García-Asarta, N. Esparza or Muñoz Sola, among others, disdained portraits. Monographs and exhibition catalogs have highlighted the great issue of works by this subject of the 19th and, above all, 20th centuries, each with its own formal grammar and tendency. Due to the characteristics of the genre, almost all artists put their touches of mastery in all of them and their details, trying to define those represented with their physical and psychological features.