Vázquez was a prolific painter, with a sizeable and active workshop, whose style combined elements from other Castillian painters such as Pedro Berruguete, Juan de Borgoña and Juan Correa da Vivar. Accused in later scholarship as displaying backward artistic tendencies, it seems that it was precisely his deliberately archaic, meticulous style and the decorative use of gold, perpetuating the 15th-century Gothic tradition, which won him commissions throughout the city and ensured a technical standardisation amongst his pupils. Indeed, one of the most remarkable characteristics of his œuvre is the lack of stylistic development and the repetition of subjects and motifs – an absence of artistic evolution which must in part be attributable to the tastes and demands of Vázquez’s patrons.
Many of the scenes depicted here appear in others of Vázquez’s works. The meeting of Joachim and Anna is found in the Las Huelgas altarpiece, while the Presentation in the temple is pictured in the altarpiece of the chapel of Our Lady of Capilludos, Castrillo de Tejeriego. There are also prototypes for the panels representing Saint Francis receiving the stigmata and Saint Jerome in the wilderness.3 These figure types are invariably solidly-modelled, impassive and easily identifiable. The only figures in the present work who remain anonymous in their lack of expression and defining characteristics are the two donors, who stand flanked by Saints Paul, Peter, James the Greater and Philip. Also evident here is Vázquez’s predilection for receding Flemish landscape settings and the placement of figures in Renaissance-inspired, rather than Gothic, architectural constructions.
We are grateful to Dr. Isabel Mateo Gómez for confirming the attribution to Vázquez, on the basis of photographs.
1. See J.C. Brasas Egido, El pintor Antonio Vazquez, Valladolid 1985, pp. 21–22 and 24, reproduced figs 17–22 and 25–27.
2. See Brasas Egido 1985, p. 26, reproduced figs 34 and 36.
3. Museo Arqueológico and Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid, respectively; see Brasas Egido 1985, pp. 30 and 34, reproduced figs 51 and 65.
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