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Plaster cast

Plaster cast

  • Place of origin:

    Toledo (city) (sculpted)
    Madrid (city) (cast)

  • Date:

    3rd quarter 13th century (sculpted)
    ca. 1871 (cast)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Darham, David ben Salomon ben Ali (sculptor)
    Riaño, Juan F. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1871:1-60

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage


Physical description

Plaster cast of the arch, in stone and stucco, in the central nave of the Synagogue, known as S. Maria la Blanca, built by David ben Salomon ben Ali Darham, at Toledo

Place of Origin

Toledo (city) (sculpted)
Madrid (city) (cast)

Date

3rd quarter 13th century (sculpted)
ca. 1871 (cast)

Artist/maker

Darham, David ben Salomon ben Ali (sculptor)
Riaño, Juan F. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 12 m, Width: 4.3 m

Object history note

Purchased from Juan F. Riaño in 1871 for £147

Historical context note

The original stone and stucco arch was built by David ben Salomon ben Ali Darham in the third quarter of the 13th century, in the central nave of the Synagogue known as S. Maria la Blanca at Toledo, Spain

Descriptive line

Plaster cast of the arch, in stone and stucco, in the central nave of the Synagogue, known as S. Maria la Blanca, built by David ben Salomon ben Ali Darham, at Toledo, third quarter of the 13th century, bought from Juan Facundo Riaño in 1871. Riaño was a scholar and expert on Spanish and Islamic art who acted on behalf of the Museum to make purchases in Spain in the 1870s.

Labels and date

1. Cast of
Unknown artist
Arch from the Interior of Santa María la Blanca,
Toledo
1250–1300

The walls and pillars of Santa María la Blanca reflect the interplay of three different cultures: Christian, Jewish and Islamic. The church was founded as Toledo’s main synagogue, built by the city’s flourishing Jewish population during the culturally tolerant reign of the Christian king, Alfonso X (1252–84). Although Muslim rule in Toledo had ceased in 1085, many Islamic artistic traditions remained popular. The synagogue demonstrates this with horseshoe arches, widely used in the Islamic architecture of Spain, and new materials, such as plaster, introduced by the Muslim Almohad rulers of southern Spain and North Africa.

Juan Facundo Riaño helped the Museum acquire this cast. A Spanish academic, he was a key figure in the production and collection of plaster casts in 19th century Spain. Riaño was also a close colleague of Henry Cole, the Museum’s first director, and advised him about objects in Spain that might be photographed or cast so that their reproductions would be made available for visitors in London to appreciate.

Cast
José de Trilles y Badenes
About 1871
Plaster with applied ceramic tiles at the base of column
Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid
Museum no. Repro.1871-60

Original
Stone, plaster and ceramic tiles
Santa María la Blanca,
Toledo, Spain [04/07/2018]
This is a cast of part of the façade of a synagogue in Toledo, built in 1250-75, but consecrated as the church of Santa María la Blanca in the 15th century. The cast was acquired by the Museum through Juan Facundo Riaño (1829-1901) in 1871. Riaño, the son-in-law of the London-based Arabist, Pascual de Gayangos, was professor of Arabic at University of Granada and founder of School of Industrial Arts in Toledo and the Museum of Artistic Reproductions in Madrid in 1878. He advised the Museum on a whole range of Spanish acquisitions from the 1870s onwards.

The plaster cast was produced by Senor José de Trilles Badenes in Toledo for £147, along with a cast of the cloister of San Juan de los Reyes; Trilles was then working on the restoration of Santa María la Blanca. The design of horseshoe arches with blind arcading above is typical of Toledan parish churches, and loosely reminiscent of the Great Mosque of Damascus; it may reflect Toledo’s own Friday mosque, which had been destroyed in the 13th century. The cast is listed in a descriptive catalogue of the Cast Courts (then known as the Architectural Courts), by J.H. Pollen, published in 1874, where it appears in the chapter entitled “Moorish architecture in Spain’. In fact the architecture is not 'Moorish' (as it was then termed), or Arabic, and yet at that date there seemed to be no category of Jewish art. Art appreciation in Britain in the 19th century of this type of architecture in Spain focused rather on 'Moorish' (Moslem) art, as seen in the Alhambra.

Holly Trusted []

Categories

Ph_survey; Sculpture; Architecture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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