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Statue - St Joseph with the Christ Child
  • St Joseph with the Christ Child
    Risueño, José, born 1665 - died 1732
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St Joseph with the Christ Child

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Granada (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1720 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Risueño, José, born 1665 - died 1732 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted terracotta, pinewood and probably linen.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA3

St Joseph is shown dressed in an abundance of drapery kneeling forward, holding the infant Christ in his arms. The sculpture is modelled in painted terracotta, and fabric (probably linen) stiffened with gesso. Both the use of colour and the intense feelings of devotion seen in the facial expression of St Joseph are typical for Spanish sculpture of this date. The cult of St Joseph, who is here shown as a relatively young father, became widespread in Spanish art during the 17th and 18th centuries, following the Catholic Reformation. He was frequently depicted alone with the Christ Child. The sculptor, José Risueño, who was active in Granada, specialised in terracotta (baked clay), although he also worked in stone and wood. The style of this piece suggests it dates from relatively late in the sculptor's career, as it relates to a wood group he executed for the high altar of S. Ildefonso in Granada dating from 1720 onwards. This terracotta was purchased for the Museum in 1863 in Granada, Spain; it may have originally served as a devotional item in a chapel.

Physical description

Painted terracotta, pinewood and fabric statue depicting St. Joseph with the Christ Child.

Place of Origin

Granada (made)


ca. 1720 (made)


Risueño, José, born 1665 - died 1732 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted terracotta, pinewood and probably linen.


Height: 575 mm, Width: 390 mm, Depth: 410 mm

Object history note

Purchased by John Charles Robinson from Marin, Granada for £4 8s. 5d.

Descriptive line

Statue, painted terracotta, St. Joseph, by José Risueño, Madrid, ca. 1690-95

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

Trusted, Marjorie. Spanish Sculpture. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 172 p., ill. ISBN 1851771778.
Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1864 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 71
Martín Gonzáles, J.J. Escultura Barroca en España. 1600-1770, Madrid, 1983, p. 423
Sánchez-Mesa Martin, D. José Riseño, Granada, 1972, pp. 77, 202, cat 52, pl. 18, fig. 3
Baker, M. 'Spain and South Kensington. John harles Robinson and the Collecting of Spanish Sculpture in the 1860s'. In: V&A Album, III, 1984, fig. 7, pp. 343, 346
Riaño, Juan F. Classified and descriptive catalogue of the art objects of Spanish production in the South Kensington Museum. "(First edition)" London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1872, p.3
Gómez-Moreno Martínez, M. 'Alonso Cano Escultor'. Archivo Español de Arte y Arqueologia, II, 1926, p. 214
Martínez Chumillas, M. Alonso Cano…, Madrid, 1948, pp. 307-8 and fig. 223
Williamson, Paul (ed), European Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1996, p. 144

Labels and date

Spanish (Granada); about 1720
Painted terracotta on a wood base, with additions of fabric
By José Risueňo (1665-1732)

In Spanish art of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries following the Catholic Reformation, St Joseph is frequently depicted alone with the Christ Child. Here his upward gaze seems to reflect a presentiment of the Passion. Risueňo was active as a painter and sculptor, and appears to have spent his whole life in Granada.
[1993 - 2011]


Terracotta; Pinewood; Linen


Painting; Modelling; Technique; Modelling


Sculpture; Christianity; Religion


Sculpture Collection

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