October 5, 2010

Global Seminars & Invited Speaker Series


Artists in Cascante in the 16th century

Ms. Mª Josefa Tarifa Castilla.
Chair of Navarrese Heritage and Art

The economic boom that Cascante experienced throughout the 16th century allowed the town to be embellished with the construction of civil and religious buildings, temples that in turn were endowed with a series of movable goods, altarpieces, sculptures and paintings, which caused important artists to come to the town, some of whom stand out within the general panorama of the arts of that Navarre of the 16th century. The important demographic increase experienced by the population motivated the Building of a new parish church under the dedication of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción on the site previously occupied by the synagogue of the Jews, a building begun by Juan López de Goroa (1527-1532) and continued by the Guipuzcoan stonemasons Luis de Garmendia and Antón de Beñarán (1534-1549), Juan de San Juan (1550-1558), the Cascantino Martín de Arriba (1583-1585) and Miguel de Múxica, among others. That exceptional factory presented a series of peculiarities that differentiated it from the rest of the churches undertaken in this century in Navarre, such as its hall plan or hallenkirche, the only example followed in the region together with the parish of San Juan Bautista de Cintruénigo, its cathedral dimensions and the material employee, stone ashlars, as opposed to the predominance of brick constructions typical of the area of the middle valley of the Ebro. Nothing has come down to us of that singular church, since it disappeared on the night of May 14-15, 1940 as a result of a fortuitous fire that left it reduced to rubble, being rebuilt maintaining the original plan in the following years.

Old parish church of Cascante

Old parish church of Cascante. 1527-1563

The other jewel of Cascante's Renaissance architectural heritage is the convent of Minim de Nuestra Señora de la Victoria, erected on the lands of the Santa Catalina hospital ceded by the regiment and whose construction began on December 9, 1586 by the village worker Pedro Verges Jr., who a year later contracted with Miguel de Múxica to build the house of the town, attached to the tower of the new parish church. The construction process of the church was long, costly and with numerous interruptions, lasting more than four years, in which different masters succeeded each other, such as Martín de Arriba (1589-1592), Pedro de Corta (1592-1593), Martín de Olazábal and Pedro de Berroeta (1593-1598), Miguel de Muxica (1599-1603) and Pascual de Horaa (1600-1607). These were mainly in charge of the Building of the nave of the temple, made up of three bays with starred vaults, since the main chapel was financed by the regiment of the town that held the board of trustees of the same, and Miguel de Miranda (1593-1605) was in charge of its erection, covering it with a beautiful and complex starred vault, and where the coats of arms of the town were placed as a consequence.

Church of the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Victoria in Cascante

Church of the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Victoria de Cascante. 1586-1607

In turn, numerous chapels opened between the buttresses of the nave of the conventual temple were acquired by private individuals with a funerary purpose, on the condition that they would bear the expenses of the Building, highlighting that of Luis Cervantes Enríquez de Navarra, founded in 1593 under the invocation of San Luis, both for the pictorial decoration of the heraldic subject that hangs on the wall of entrance and for the altarpiece that presides over it, whose central panel dedicated to the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin is the work of a painter influenced by the Flemish Rolan Mois. For its part, the chapel of San Juan Bautista houses an altarpiece under the same invocation that has been attributed to Juan de Lumbier, a Navarrese artist active in Tudela between 1578-†1626, with an extensive production in the Ribera, a work dated around 1615, with different scenes dedicated to the life of the precursor, which presents similarities with the main altarpiece by the same author of Cortes, and whose panels stand out for their well-structured compositions and vibrant chromatic palette.

Altarpiece of San Juan Bautista

Altarpiece of San Juan Bautista. 1615. Attributed to Juan de Lumbier.
Church of the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Victoria de Cascante.