ATTRIBUTED TO ROQUE DE BALDUQUE (D. 1561)
SPANISH, SEVILLE, MID-16TH CENTURY
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
gilt and polychromed wood
inscribed: 1705 to the reverse, and with an old label to the reverse inscribed: No ENQUETA: 1705 / ALTO - 1'30ms
134 cm., 52¾in.
Overall the condition of the sculpture is very good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The sculpture appears to have retained its original compositional integrity. Much early polychromy and gilding has survived. However, there are various losses some of which have been professionally conserved (these areas have multi coloured painted restorations). There are a few further unrestored losses to the paint, in particular to the proper left big toe. There is an original stable joint at the proper right wrist. The index finger and the thumb appear to be reattached. There is some minor splitting to the wood, including at the forehead. There is a slightly visible original joint at the proper right shoulder. There is a metal hook at the back of the neck. There is an old label at the back and the number 1705 has been written twice on the back in ink.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
possibly commissioned for the dismantled altarpiece of the parish church of Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz;
private collection, Seville;
the present owners
J. P. Benavides, 'A proposito de un Nueva San Juan Bautista Atribuido a Roque Balduque', Trocadero no. 30, 2018, pp. 318-339
This impressive and rare statue of St John the Baptist has been convincingly attributed to the Sevillian Renaissance sculptor Roque de Balduque (also known as Roque Balduque) by Dr Jesús Porres Benavides. Balduque was an important sculptor in Southern Spain in the middle decades of the 16th century, imbuing his works with the advances of the Renaissance whilst referring back to earlier sculptural traditions.
Carved from a solid piece of timber, the beautifully carved sculpture of the Baptist preserves much early polychromy and gilding. It shows the saint with his characteristic camel skin, emblematic of his status as a hermit saint, and holding the lamb, signifying Agnus Dei, to which he gestures. The tilted head with downcast gaze find a strong parallel in Balduque's Corpus from his Cristo de la Vera Cruz of Alcalá del Río in Seville. The elongated facial type with drooped eyelids and trailing beard are very close.
Significantly Balduque was responsible for a now lost altarpiece for the parish church of Chiclana de la Frontera in Cádiz, which is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Remnants survive of the altarpiece in the church itself, but no figure of St John is located today from this provenance. Given the close stylistic association between the present statue and Balduque's work, Dr Jesús Porres Benavides has suggested that the present St John may come from the dismantled altarpiece of Chiclana de la Frontera in Cádiz. Indeed, if Porres Benavides is correct, the sculpture may have been a central component of this altarpiece, given that the church was dedicated to the Baptist. For the complete argument please refer to the expertise which is available upon request.
The present sculpture is accompanied by an expertise attributing it to Roque de Balduque by Dr Jesús Porres Benavides which is available from the department upon request.