Apostolate on backboard of a chest of drawers

This apostolate is located on the backboard of a chest of drawers in the cathedral sacristy. The work was a gift from the precentor Gregorio del Bozo in 1752, and it apparently arrived from Bilbao along with the mirrors that were also to decorate the backboard. The style of the paintings are linked to the late Baroque-Rococo period, displaying an uninhibited, somewhat pasty brushstroke and a palette of light, pastel tones. These features could associate them with José Bejés, a painter trained in Italy who worked in the provinces of La Rioja, Alava, Navarre and Biscay, where he lived for some time in the city of Bilbao. He excelled as a muralist and worked alongside the most prominent decorative painters in the area. His style was in line with Rococo traditions, including delicate forms and a loose, pastel palette, which he gradually refined in his later works owing to the influence of academicism.

Alava Provincial Council paid for work to be done on these paintings in 1864 to enhance the newly named cathedral. They were given new canvases, stretcher frames and mounts, and it was probably at this time, or a few years later, that the paintings of Saint Philip, Saint James the Less and Saint Matthew were redone, most likely by Epifanio Díaz de Arcaute, a painter from Vitoria.


Ficha técnica

  • Author: Circle of José Bejés
  • Date: c. 1752
  • Technique: Oil on canvas
  • Measurements: 55 x 41 cm
  • Place: Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Vitoria-Gasteiz). Sacristy


AZCÁRATE RISTORI, José M.ª de. “Catedral de Santa María (catedral Vieja)”. En: PORTILLA VITORIA, Micaela J. et al. Catálogo Monumental Diócesis de Vitoria: Ciudad de Vitoria. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Obra Cultural de la Caja de Ahorros Municipal, tomo III, 1968, p. 108.

BARTOLOMÉ GARCÍA, Fernando R. “Conjunto pictórico en la sacristía de la catedral de Santa María de Vitoria-Gasteiz”. Ars Bilduma, n.º 1, 2011, pp. 67-86.

BARTOLOMÉ GARCÍA, Fernando R.; PARDO, Diana. “Restauración del conjunto de la sacristía de la catedral de Santa María de Vitoria-Gasteiz”, en La restauración en el siglo XXI. Función, estética e imagen. Madrid, Árgoma Servicios Editoriales, 2009, pp. 103-112.