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Don García de Osorio

  • Object:

    Effigy

  • Place of origin:

    Toledo (City) (made)

  • Date:

    1499-1505 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved alabaster

  • Museum number:

    A.48-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50a, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery, case FS

This effigy of Don García de Osorio (d. after 1502) is a pendant to that of his wife, Doña María de Perea (d. 1499). Both effigies were originally placed in the church of S. Pedro at Ocaña near Toledo in Spain, but they were removed when the church was declared structurally unsound in 1906. Don García holds a sword (some of which is now missing), and at his feet is a kneeling female figure leaning against a helmet. He wears the shell of the Order of Santiago on his hat; the mantle of the Order is worn over his armour.

The church of S. Pedro was closely associated with the military Order of Santiago, which owned Ocaña. The subject of this effigy, don García Osorio, was a knight of the Order of Santiago, and wears the mantle of the Order, with its badge on his left breast. The distinctive shell of the Order is worn on his woven straw hat. The pommel of the sword is inscribed (in Latin) 'Jesus give me victory', and the hilt, 'The blessing of God'. The church was also used for meetings of the Castilian cortes (a local parliament), and for important ceremonial occasions until the the end of the fifteenth century.

Such an effigy would have also acted as memorial to the family of don García Osorio, and would have been revered by his descendants and local inhabitants. Although the author of the tomb is unknown, he is likely to have been a sculptor active in Toledo, and the skill with which the costume and portraits are rendered on both this effigy and that of doña María Perea (don García Osorio's wife) suggests an experienced Castilian sculptor perhaps influenced by Netherlandish prototypes, in the tradition of Gil de Siloe.

Physical description

Alabaster effigy of Don García de Osorio. The figure lies with closed eyes, grasping his sword. He is clean-shaven, but with stubble on his face shown. His woven straw hat is decorated with a tasselled cord, and the shell of the Order of Santiago. The mantle of the Order, with its badge on his left breast, is worn over his armour. The pommel of the sword and the hilt are inscribed. The effigy's head rests on two cushions with laced edges and pointed ornaments at the corners, one is carved with a cover held together by fictive leather thongs. At the feet is a kneeling female figure on a much smaller scale. She appears to be sleeping, resting her right elbow on a helmet. She wears a loose tunic tied at the waist, and long hair bound with twisted cord. Distinctive knots on the belt and hairband of this figure are similar to those on the gloves and feet of the effigy, and resemble those knots on the companion effigy and attendant figure at her feet

Place of Origin

Toledo (City) (made)

Date

1499-1505 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved alabaster

Marks and inscriptions

'IESVS : [VICT half legible] ORIAM'
'Jesus (give me) victory'
inscribed on pommel of sword

'X DEO X BENEDICTVS'
'The blessing of god'
inscribed on hilt

Dimensions

Height: 40.5 cm, Width: 64 cm, Depth: 198 cm

Object history note

Like A.49-1910, this effigy was originally in a chapel of the church of S. Pedro at Ocaña, about fifty kilometres east of Toledo. The contents of the church were dispersed in about 1906, when the building was declared structurally unsafe (it was demolished in 1907). The effigies may have been acquired by a Madrid dealer, Boroondo, and were subsequently bought by the London dealer Lionel Harris, from whom the Museum purchased them. Two other effigies from the same church were bought by the Hispanic Society of America in New York at the same time.

Historical significance: This effigy is courtly and chivalric, and at the same time is imbued with religious significance. At the feet of the knight a small mourning, or possibly sleeping female figure leans against his helmet, removed so that his face can be seen, but also suggesting he is no longer actively fighting. He wears chain mail and armour, and wears gauntlets, and holds a sword, but the inscriptions record his piety, and this complements the sentiment of the effigy of the deceased's wife (A.48-1910). All of this is typical of the Order of Santiago, which was military, and dedicated to the cause of Christianity. Such an effigy would have also acted as memorial to the family of don García Osorio, and would have been revered by his descendants and local inhabitants. Although the author of the tomb is unknown, he is likely to have been a sculptor active in Toledo, and the skill with which the costume and portraits are rendered on both this effigy and that of doña María Perea (don García Osorio's wife) suggests an experienced Castilian sculptor perhaps influenced by Netherlandish prototypes, in the tradition of Gil de Siloe.

Historical context note

The church of S. Pedro was closely associated with the military Order of Santiago, which owned Ocaña. The subject of this effigy, don García Osorio, was a knight of the Order of Santiago, and wears the mantle of the Order, with its badge on his left breast. The distinctive shell of the Order is worn on his woven straw hat. The pommel of the sword is inscribed (in Latin) 'Jesus give me victory', and the hilt, 'The blessing of God'. The church was also used for meetings of the Castilian cortes (a local parliament), and for important ceremonial occasions until the the end of the fifteenth century.

Descriptive line

Effigy, alabaster, of Don García de Osorio, in the tradition of the work of Gil de Siloe, Spanish (Castilian), perhaps Toledo, ca. 1499-1505

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Trusted, Marjorie. Spanish Sculpture. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 172 p., ill. ISBN 1851771778.
Trusted, Marjorie, ed. The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London: 2007, p. 111, pl. 196
Webb, G. "Sculpture", in: Spanish Art, Burlington Magazine Monographs II, London, 1927, p. 54, pl. 10A
Mayer, A. J. Gotik in Spanien, 1928, p. 148
Sanpere, A. Durán and De Lasarte, J. Ainaud. Ars Hispaniae - Escultura Gótica, VIII, p. 335, fig. 321
de Cedillo, Conde. "La iglesia de San Pedro de Ocaña", Madrid: Sociedad Española de Excursiones Boletín, XXVIII, 1920, pp. 32-38
Comstock, H. "Fragments from a Spanish Gothic Tomb", International Studio, LXXXVII, June, 1927, pp. 30-36
Wethey, H.E. Gil de Siloe and His School, Cambridge, Mass., 1936, pp. 101-103

Production Note

Analogies can be made with works by the Toledo sculptor Sebastián de Almonacid, and the tomb can be seen to be in the tradition of the work of Gil de Siloe, who was active in Burgos in the late fifteenth century.

Materials

Alabaster

Techniques

Carving

Subjects depicted

Female figure; Cushions; Sword; Effigy; Armour; Ornament

Categories

Sculpture; Arms & Armour; Death

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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