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Saint Ginés de la Jara
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Luisa Roldán
Spanish, about 1692
Polychromed wood (pine and cedar) with glass eyes
5 ft. 9 1/4 in. x 3 ft. 3/16 in. x 2 ft. 5 1/8 in.
85.SD.161

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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.

Detail Views

Inscription on sleeve
Inscription on sleeve

Garment
Garment

Face
Face

Interior view from bottom
Interior view from bottom

Hand
Hand

Signature
Signature


Technical Views

During conservation view
During conservation view

Conservator
Conservator's drawing of robe

X-ray images of the head
X-ray images of the head

After conservation: sleeve
After conservation: sleeve

Pre-conservation view
Pre-conservation view


Other Views

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Profile
Profile