Montañéz, Juan Martinez

   Spanish sculptor who specialized in religious figures rendered in polychromed wood. Montañéz was a native of Seville who studied with the sculptor Pablo de Rojas in Granada. In 1635 he was summoned to Madrid to render a sculpted head of Philip IV of Spain to be sent to Italy so Pietro Tacca could render the king's equestrian portrait (1640; Madrid, Plaza de Oriente). This is Montañéz's only documented secular commission. While at court, Diego Velazquez painted his portrait (c. 1635; Madrid, Prado), showing the sculptor at work on the bust. The types of sculptures Montañéz created were meant to be carried during religious processions and displayed in the interior of churches to stir up deep emotions in viewers, among them his St. Ignatius of Loyola (1610; Seville, University Chapel), paraded during the celebrations of the saint's beatification, and the Penitent St. Jerome in the Monastery of San Isidro del Campo, near Seville (1612). One of the greatest examples of Montañéz's work is the Christ of Clemency, now in the Cathedral of Seville (1603-1606), commissioned by Mateo Vázquez de Leca, the archdeacon of Carmona, for his private chapel. As in most Sevillian depictions of the Crucifixion from this era, Montañéz used four nails, instead of three, to augment the sense of Christ's suffering. Montañéz's renderings were tremendously influential in the development of Spanish art, especially that of Francisco de Zurbáran whose own Crucified Christ (1627; Chicago, Art Institute) translates to painting Montañéz's sculptures.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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