Saint Joseph and Child

This image was the main figure in the altarpiece of the Chapel of Saint Charles Borromeo, which no longer exists, alongside carvings of Saint John Nepomucene and Mary Magdalene that accompanied it on its side panels. They all correspond to the stylistic features of the famous sculptor Luis Salvador Carmona, although the only problem in being able to attribute them directly to him is the fact that they were donated by an unknown devotee in 1777, ten years after the death of Carmona, so we must therefore associate them with the workshop or the followers of this master. According to Professor Fernando Tabar, it is most likely that they were made by his nephew José Salvador Carmona, whose works are known to be very similar in style.

Saint Joseph is depicted as a mature man with medium-length hair and a beard. He wears a full-length tunic tied at the waist and a velvet cloak. He is holding the Child in his left arm and has established a loving connection with him, while his right hand holds the flowering staff with which he is identified. On his head is a metal halo with zigzagging rays. The entire figure rests on an octagonal base with four projecting feet and decorated with scallops, leaves and pendants. The polychromy is adapted to the academic style of the carving, employing flat tones finished by a vegetal border made with brushstrokes. It is only the pedestal that is more akin to the Rococo tradition, with its use of gilding and geometric motifs in half relief on the finish.


Ficha técnica

  • Author: Circle of Luis Salvador Carmona
  • Date: c. 1777
  • Technique: Polychrome stone carving
  • Measurements: 100 x 65 x 47 cm
  • Place: Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Vitoria-Gasteiz)

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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. 106-107.

TABAR ANITUA, Fernando, Escultura académica en Álava. La Escuela de Madrid del siglo XVIII. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Diputación Foral de Álava, 2008, pp. 81-89