Fundación Focus
<em>Velázquez Centre</em>

Velázquez Centre

Focus Foundation

Juan Martínez Montañés

(Alcalá la Real, Jaén, 1568 – Seville, 1649)

The Immaculate, 1623-1624

Sculpture in polychromed wood

168 x 64 x 49 cm.

Archbishopric of Seville

The Immaculate, 1623-1624

This Immaculate Conception is the immediate forerunner of the Cieguecita (‘the little blind one’) in the Cathedral of Seville, which marked one of the sculptor Martínez Montañés’ leading achievements in the embodiment of an iconographic type, and this served as a dramatic turning point in the work of Velázquez, especially the first version, which was commissioned for the town of El Pedroso in 1606, which was the model that Velázquez used as the reference for his painting, held by the National Gallery in London.

This sculpture, along with its companion piece of San Juan Bautista, comes from the side altarpieces of the church of the Convent of Santa Clara in Seville, started by this master in 1622. The Virgin is shown with her hands together in prayer, her look lowered, with an innocent, absorbed expression, standing on the crescent moon, from which emerge the heads of two cherubim. The execution of her shawl is a technical masterpiece, with the artist having arranged the large, deep folds and creases in a slightly different way than previously.

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