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Session 1 | June 29, 2020  | 329 Lots

1/8

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FRANCISCO JOÃO - ACT. 1563-1595 Triple Predella three oil-painted wood panels "Saint Benedict", "Saint Lawrence, Saint Roch, Saint Sebastian and Saint Blaise" and "Saint Barbara" centre of the central panel with classicist cartouche with inscription ESTA CAPELLA ESTANDO MVITO DESTRVIDA FOI REEDIFICADA POR SEBASTIÃO CORDEIRO ALFERES DAS ORDENANÇAS E SVAS IRMANS ISABEL MARIA CORDEIRA E MARIA CORDEIRA DOS ANIOS EM LOVVOR E GLORIA DA SANTISSIMA TRINDADE NO ANNO DE 1756, marbled and gilt wood frames restoration, defects on the support, traces of wood insects, minor faults and defects Dim. - 50,5 x 252 cm Notes: FRANCISCO JOÃO Évora, circa 1539-1595 Triple predella with the figures of Saint Benedict (left), Saint Lawrence, Saint Roch, Saint Sebastian, Saint Blaise (central panel) and Saint Barbara (right). Visible inscription: ESTA CAPELLA ESTANDO MVITO DESTRVIDA FOI REEDIFICADA POR SEBASTIÃO CORDEIRO ALFERES DAS ORDENANÇAS E SVAS IRMANS ISABEL MARIA CORDEIRA E MARIA CORDEIRA DOS ANIOS EM LOVVOR E GLORIA DA SANTISSIMA TRINDADE NO ANNO DE 1756. Inscrição subjacente: ESTE RETABOLO ALTAR E IAZIGO MANDOV FAZER LVIS M[ON]IZ E Ma DE PREITOS SVA MOLHER PERA SI E SEVS DECENDENTES 1574. This triple painting, a fine testimony of regional Mannerism, belonged to the predella of a fragmented altarpiece of unknown origin and is owed to Francisco João, the most productive painter established and active in Évora in the second half of the 16th century and the favorite local artist for commissioning from the Archbishopric at the time of Cardinal D. Henrique and D. Teotónio of Braganza. This master was a prestigious painter in the capital of Alentejo, where he enjoyed liberalized status, also executing fresco painting and being a prominent member of the Brotherhood of the both Holy Mercy House and Holy Office of Inquisition, and author of numerous works, scattered through churches of the Archdiocese of Évora and the Museum of Sacred Art of the Cathedral, always marked by a very personal «modo de fazer», well-known today. In works such as those of the main church of Pavia, for example, loyalties to models of saints who are resurrected in this predella are recognized, while the typical resolution of the landscape backgrounds is evident on the panels of Saint Susanna (Redondo) and, in increasing process of simplification, in the final works for the church of Saint Helena of Mount Calvary in Évora (1593). The existence of the painter was totally unknown until the investigations of art historian Tulio   Espanca (1947). After that, the artist earned amply archival and laboratory research that came to define the whole artistic path, as well as the technical particularities, his own styles and pictorial practices, deserving to be mentioned, among other studies, the dissertation of Helena Pinheiro de Melo O pintor Francisco João (act. 1563-1595), Materiais e técnicas na pintura de cavalete em Évora na segunda metade do século XVI (Escola das Artes da Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, 2014).  However, it is still impossible to know, from the original inscription of the central cartouche, the identity of the couple of devotees from Alentejo who commissioned the work, which makes impossible the identification of the chapel or church for which it was projected. The artist learned from the models of the last Renaissance generation, perhaps in Sebastião Lopes' workshop, as proven by the style of his first well-documented work, the three panels of the altarpiece of the Terena Mother Church (1559), and subsequent works (panels in São Mamede de Évora and Santa Maria of Estremoz). Quickly he adopted the Italian Mannerism method in its more didascalic and counter-reformist version, after the strong influence of the models of the famous Luis de Morales, el Divino, painter of Badajoz who came to work in Évora in 1565. Above all, it is the knowledge of the ascetic models of Morales that are observed in the six standing figures that are drawn against a wide background of landscape common to the three panels that are part of this interesting panel painted in 1574. The drawing is very characteristic of the painter's repertoire, within his loyalty to personal styles, even with models that hardly alter and have somewhat squat postures (in Saint Roch), or terribilità effects (as in Saint Sebastian) only very distantly of Michelangelo style, while the search for an ideal beauty, which is most evident in Saint Barbara's admirable figure, shows Mestre Francisco João's constant effort to maintain before his clients an image of great familiar appeal and devotional efficiency.
Vitor Serrão Art Historian.
Cabral Moncada Leilões acknowledges and thanks Professor Vítor Serrão for the historical and artistic framework of the work in matter. This work was presented and exhibited at the Museum of Évora between 18 May and 1 July 2019.

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