Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cristobal de Villalpando

La lactacion de Santo Domingo
oil on canvas
361 x 481 cm
Templo de Santo Domingo, Mexico

Cristobal de Villalpando (c.1645-1714) was a Mexican painter, arts administrator and captain of the guard. He was born in Mexico City to an influential family, and he assumed duties in the local militia as an ensign, as well as painting in a workshop. He painted prolifically and produced many Baroque works visible in several Mexican cathedrals, including the cathedrals in Queretaro and Mexico City, as well as a famous 1695 picture of the main square or Zocalo of Mexico City, showing the damage of the 1692 riot to the viceregal palace.

Rather than pursue the severe tenebrist Baroque of Spanish painters, he produced luminous images that were a two-dimensional equivalent to the Ultrabaroque architecture of buildings like the church of Santa Prisca in Taxco. The paintings he made for the sacristy of the Cathedral of Mexico are widely regarded as the high point of his career, although he fulfilled many other commissions for churches in Mexico City and in Puebla. He also enjoyed success as a portrait painter. Although he looked to the work of Rubens for inspiration, his painting reflects the development of a local Mexican style. His painterly brushwork, anatomical irregularities, and use of expressive gestures and poses drawn from Mannerism were all elements of this style.

In 1686 he was named a director (one of the three) of the painters’ guild in Mexico, a sign of the esteem in which other painters held him.