Altarpiece of the Virgin of the Sorrows

Although this is an undocumented work, its formal and stylistic evidence allows us to attribute it to three of the most important Neoclassical masters who worked in Vitoria. Everything indicates that the architecture must have been carried out by Benigno de Moraza. The sculpture is undoubtedly by Mauricio de Valdivielso and the polychromy by José López de Torre or Bartolomé Vasco, all frequent contributors. These masters must be considered the artistic elite of Neoclassicism in these lands. The altarpiece has a horizontal design and is extremely proportional. It follows the typology of “painting-altarpiece” and comprises a single volume and attic. It is presided over by a freestanding carving of the Virgin of the Sorrows, which can be attributed to the sculptor Mauricio de Valdivielso, and is flanked by two columns with smooth shafts and Corinthian capitals supporting an entablature. The ensemble is crowned by a tondo with a painting of the Dead Christ lying on a white sheet on the ground, attributed to José López de Torre. This tondo is flanked by two carvings of Mourning Angels, also by Mauricio de Valdivielso.


Ficha técnica

  • Author: Attributed to: Sculpture: Mauricio de Valdivielso (1760-1822), Architecture: Benigno de Moraza, Painting: José López de Torre or Bartolomé Vasco
  • Date: 1817
  • Technique: Polychrome stone carving
  • Measurements: Approx. 563 x 240 x 66 cm
  • Place: Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Vitoria-Gasteiz). Chapel of Saint James. Today’s Saint Mary’s Church.

Image gallery


LOPEZ DE GUEREÑU, Gerardo. “Los santeros de Payueta”, Boletín de la Institución Sancho el Sabio, 1976, n.º 20, pp. 327-364.

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. 112-113.

TABAR ANITUA, Fernando. “Neoclásico”. En: GONZÁLEZ DE SAN ROMÁN, Miguel (Dir.). Vitoria-Gasteiz en el Arte, vol. II, Vitoria-Gasteiz: Gobierno Vasco, Diputación Foral de Álava, Ayuntamiento de Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1997, pp. 482-483.

BARTOLOMÉ GARCÍA Fernando R. José López de Torre (1755-1829) y la pintura neoclásica en Álava. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Diputación Foral de Álava, 2007, pp. 135-136.