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Juan de Mesa (sculptor of religious images)

Juan de MesaJuan de Mesa was born in Cordoba in 1583, and at the age of 23 he became apprentice in the Sevillian studio of Martínez Montañés, where he stayed for four and a half years. He was married to María Flores, died in 1627, and was buried in the church of San Martin in Seville.
In Martínez Montañés's studio he learned drawing, modelling, carving, composition and all the tricks of the trade needed to become a sculptor and fitter. Here too he began his Humanist education.
He was an obedient disciple, but there are certain peculiarities and characteristics which mark his work out from the rest. His imagery was in keeping with the ascetic mentality of the Counter-Reformation, when the Catholic Church, after the Council of Trent, decided to bring religious statues out of the dark recesses of churches and into the streets. There their new role was to bring their message to the people, to serve their spiritual needs and encourage the creation of religious brotherhoods, with the images of Jesus and Mary "the Redeeming Passion" to the forefront.
The artist who was entrusted this job was Juan de Mesa and his dramatic realism, based on detailed studies of living and dead subjects, achieved a realistically authentic portrayal of the dead, without losing the emotion and Christian spirit of the work.


Ayuntamiento de Córdoba