Francisco de Goya

Coming of the Virgin of the Pillar to Zaragoza (Venida de la Virgen del Pilar a Zaragoza)

Coming of the Virgin of the Pillar to Zaragoza (Venida de la Virgen del Pilar a Zaragoza)
Datos Generales
Lost work
220 x 160 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection
Ficha: realización/revisión
14 Jan 2010 / 13 Jun 2023
Otros títulos:
Apparition of the Virgin of the Pillar to the Apostle Saint James (Aparición de la Virgen del Pilar al apóstol Santiago)

In 1782 Goya received the commission to paint the altarpiece next to the main altar (Evangelical side) of the parish church of San Pedro in Urrea de Gaén in Teruel, the same year in which the building was finished. The project is related to the renovation of the churches belonging to the Hijarano estate, sponsored by the 10th Duke Pedro Pablo Alcántara de Silva Fernández de Híjar.

In a letter from Goya to Martín Zapater dated 26 April 1783 the artist mentions payment of 3,000 reales received from the Duke of Híjar for an unspecified work. Sánchez Cantón believes that this was the piece in question.

The canvas was destroyed in the summer of 1936 at the start of the Spanish Civil War.

This was not the only work carried out for the Church of Urrea de Gaén, since Ramón Bayeu also took part in this project, painting the Saint Peter, Martyr of Verona (San Pedro Mártir de Verona) for the main altarpiece, as did José del Castillo, author of the Saint Augustine (San Agustín) for the altarpiece on the Epistle side.

Análisis artístico

This work by Goya is known only from photographs taken by Juan Mora Insa. The subject was not new to Goya, as he had depicted it in his first known work, the doors of the reliquary of the Church of Fuendetodos, Zaragoza, as well as on various occasions for small devotional paintings commissioned by private clients.

The Virgin Mary appears on clouds, accompanied by her devoted host of angels, who carry her image and the column. It has a gentler aspect than the surviving sketch, which was painted in a much more spontaneous manner. Some figures have been eliminated from the final painting, and secondary figures are also given less importance. In general, this painting features a more simple composition than that used by Goya on previous occasions. Although it maintains the diagonal line of the sketch, it is also more static and monumental.

Saint James still shows the influence of Antonio González Velázquez, and is reminiscent of the image of the apostle painted on the doors of the reliquary. Following the discovery of the Italian Notebook, this figure has also been compared with the figure of Abraham which appears in a sketch in the notebook. In that drawing, God appears to Abraham to order him to construct an altar. When Mary appears to Saint James she orders him to build a chapel to hold his image, thus completing the parallelism between the two works.

A preparatory study and a sketchfor this work have survived.

  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    pp. 77, 93, cat. 192
    vol. I, p. 279, cat. 281 y fig. 400 (il.
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    p. 98, cat. 144
    Goya y Aragón. Familia, amistades y encargos artísticos
    col. Col. Mariano de Pano y Ruata
    ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de la Inmaculada de Aragón
    pp. 142-145 y p. 144 (il.)
    Goya, Ramón Bayeu y José del Castillo en los retablos de las iglesias parroquiales de la Puebla de Híjar, Vinaceite y Urrea de Gaén
    Archivo Español de Arte
    pp. 180-182
Enlaces externos
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