Saint Ginés de la Jara

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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum East Pavilion, Gallery E201

Object Details


Saint Ginés de la Jara


Luisa Roldán (called "La Roldana") (Spanish, 1652 - 1706)

Polychromer: Tomás de Los Arcos (Spanish, born 1661)




Spain (Place created)


about 1692


Polychromed wood (pine and cedar) with glass eyes


175.9 x 91.9 x 74 cm (69 1/4 x 36 3/16 x 29 1/8 in.)

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In a richly brocaded robe, with rosy cheeks, shining eyes, and outstretched arms, Saint Ginés de la Jara appeals to the faithful standing before him. His gestures and open mouth suggest that he is preaching. According to legend, after Saint Ginés was decapitated in southern France, he picked up his head and tossed it into the Rhône River. Carried by the sea to the coast of southeastern Spain, it was retrieved and conserved as a relic. Life-sized, devotional cult objects often included glass eyes and were often made out of wood that could be painted in order to achieve lifelike results. Reinforcing the emotional experience of the faithful, such heightened realism typified Spanish Baroque art at a time when the Catholic Church sought to make Christianity more accessible to believers.

Luisa Roldán, also called La Roldana, carved the work. The figure was polychromed by her brother-in-law, Tomás de los Arcos, who used the Spanish technique of estofado to replicate the brocaded ecclesiastical garments. In this process, the area of the figure's garment was first covered in gold leaf and painted over with brown paint, and then incised with a stylus to reveal the gold underneath.

Spanish Polychromy (April 21 to June 26, 1994)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), April 21 to June 26, 1994
La Roldana's Saint Ginés: The Making of a Polychrome Sculpture (February 17, 2009 to December 11, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 17, 2009 to December 11, 2011
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