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An ItalianRenaissance
O L G A R A G G I O AssociateResearchCurator,WesternEuropeanArts

PREFATORY NOTE The Velez Blanco Patio will be one of the glories of the FRONTISPIECE: The patio from
MetropolitanMuseum. Broughtfrom Spain in the earlyyears of this century,itformed the
Bequestof GeorgeBlumenthal,
magnificentinnerhall of the GeorgeBlumenthalhouseat SeventiethStreetand ParkAvenue,
41.190.482. Erectedin 1964with
which was bequeathedto the Museum by Mr. Blumenthal,presidentfrom I934 to I94z. the Ann and GeorgeBlumenthal
Ratherthan leave theirhouse as a separatemuseum,Mr. and Mrs. Blumenthalhad decided Fund.All photographs of thepatio
that theirworksof art would be of greaterserviceto the public if they were distributedwith as installedin theMuseumwere
liketreasuresin variouspartsof the Metropolitan.For thesamereason,in z934 Mr. Blumen- takenby EzraStoller
thal had allowed us to dismantlethe musicroom of his housein Parisso that its architectural
elements,suchas the Frovillearcadeand the Senswindows,mightbe usedin the new Cloisters ON THE COVER: Detail of the
that was being built in Fort TryonPark. Thus, Mr. Blumenthalstatedin his will: "I now southeastcorner
give and deviseto The MetropolitanMuseum of Art ... all of my lands and the house
thereon.. .for thepurposeof(a) havingmy housedismantled,(b) havingsuch of the struc-
tural parts of my house as can be advantageouslyinstalledin the presentbuildingsof its
Museum or in the buildingshereafterto be erectedby it transferredto and installedin such
buildings,(c) havingthe restof the structuralparts of my house disposedof in such manner
as it may seefit."
Whenthe Blumenthalhouse was torn down, in I945, the hundredsof marbleblocksthat
composedthe patio were carefullynumberedand storedin the Museum. In 1955 the archi-
tecturalfirmof Brown, Lawford and Forbesworkedwith us in preparingplansfor a new
wing to house the ThomasJ. WatsonLibrary,includingstudy rooms and exhibitionareas
for printsand drawings.Withthepatio as the centralfeature,thenew buildingwould connect
with thegalleriesof Renaissanceart on thefirstfloorand thepaintingsgallerieson the second.
Constructionof the librarywing beganin 1962 and by August 1963 wasfar enoughalong to
permitthe erectionof thepatio. A fund establishedby Ann and GeorgeBlumenthalmade it
possibleto reconstructthepatio as it is seentoday- a beautifullyproportionedand decorated
court, designedtofollow as closely as possible its originalappearancein the castle of Velez
Blanco, with daylightstreamingin throughthe translucentroof thatprotectsits superborna-
ment. The historyof this masterpieceof Renaissancecraftsmanshipand the carvingof its
individualelementsare discussedin the articlethatfollows.



The Metropolitan Museum of Art

is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve, and extend access to
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin ®
Velez Blanco is a small mountain village, not far inland from the port of Almeria on
the southeasterncoast of Spain. Lying between the fertile plain of Murcia and the an-
cient Moorishkingdom of Granada,it was once the seat of the feudal lords of the region,
the powerful Fajardo family, whose sixteenth century castle still dominates the town.
Here the Fajardoslived until the end of the seventeenth century, when the family be-
came extinct. Thereafter, the castle was only occasionallyinhabited, and in the course
of the nineteenth century, after the French invasion and the vast social changes that
overtook the country, was almost completely abandoned.
At the beginning of 904, as has happened with so many great houses no longer used,
the owners decided to remove whatever furnishingsstill remained in the apartments,
and to sell the architectural elements of the castle's most prized possession:its richly
i. The patio as installedin the
Blumenthal house in New York carved Renaissancepatio, a truly unique jewel of Spanish and Italian architecture of
the early sixteenth century.
In May of that year, its magnificent ensemble of marble carvings- arcades,columns,
and window and door enframements- was removed from the castle by a French interior
decorator, J. Goldberg of Rue La Boetie in Paris, and transported by way of sea first
to Marseille and then to Paris. Together with the elements of the patio went other
large pieces of Renaissancecarving from the castle, such as a wooden ceiling, or arte-
sonado, that had covered one of the salons, and two doors.
No better moment could have been chosen for the sale of so vast an ensemble. In the
United States the fashion for Renaissance architecture, promoted by men such as
Stanford White and CharlesF. McKim, was then at its peak, and no time was lost in
showing the marbles to several prominent American collectors. First they were offered
to Archer M. Huntington, whose long-standing interest in things Spanish was to be
crowned by the foundation of The Hispanic Society of Americain that very year. For
a while the Velez Blanco Patio was considered as a possible purchase for the building
that was about to be erected to house the Society and its collection. Then, for several
practical reasons, negotiations fell through. But Huntington had been so impressed
with the magnificent ensemble that he allowed the richly carved windows of the patio
to serve as models for the design of the arcaded terracotta court of his museum.
A few years later, shortly before I913, George Blumenthal succeeded in acquiring
the marblesfor the house he was building on Park Avenue. There they were combined



Publishedmonthly from October to Juneand quarterlyfrom July to September.Copyright? 1964

by The MetropolitanMuseumof Art, Fifth Avenueand 82nd Street, New York, N. Y. 10028.Second
classpostagepaidat New York,N. Y. Subscriptions$5.00 a year.Singlecopiesfifty cents. Sent free to
MuseumMembers.Four weeks'notice requiredfor changeof address.Back issuesavailableon micro-
filmfromUniversityMicrofilms,313 N. FirstStreet,Ann Arbor,Michigan.Editor:GrayWilliams,Jr.;
AssistantEditors:AnnePreussandKatharineH. B. Stoddert;Assistant:SuzanneR. Boorsch;Designer:
Peter Oldenburg.

'~<: I
r? ::_:- 4~~r4l~~~TT~~k" 2. The castle of the Fajardos at

~,~j ~. . ....~....... .. V6lez Blanco (1506-1515).


with a number of additions to create a sumptuous inner hall (Figure i). In this new
arrangement,a second-floorgallery ran on three sides of the room, and a cofferedceiling
was made from the wooden artesonado.
When, after Mr. Blumenthal's death, his house was dismantled, all the elements of
the patio-about two thousand marble blocks-were carefully numbered and stored
in the Museum. Nearly twenty years passed before new construction made space avail-
able for this complex installation, but now, exactly sixty years after the marbles were
removed from the castle, one of the earliest monuments of the Renaissancein Spain is
here brought to new life.
In re-erecting the Velez Blanco Patio, the Museum has undertaken to reproduce as
faithfully as possible its original aspect. The problems implied in this project were not
small. In practically every book on Spanish architecture the castle of Velez Blanco is
described as an important landmark in the history of the Spanish Renaissance, but
3. Close-upof theex r walls
exterior of
beyond this general acknowledgment little precise information existed on the appear- the castle. Photograph:Franci isco
ance of the patio prior to its sale. Built in a remote corner of Spain, the castle escaped PrietoMoreno
the attention of travelersand historians. It was only when news of the sale and export
of the marblesbroke out, in the spring of I904, that several articlesappearedin Spanish
newspapersand journals,deploring the loss of so important a monument and trying to
describe, more or less reliably, the former aspect of its interiors. A few photographsof
two sides of the patio before its dismantling were then published (Figure 6); these
photographs were the only documentary record of its original appearancewe had to
work with, aside from a water-colorsketch showing an ideal reconstructionof the patio
(Figure 5), a photographof which was supplied to Mr. Huntington and Mr. Blumenthal
by the dealer Goldberg.
When all available information was assembledand sifted, we still lacked some indis-
pensable facts, such as, for instance, the original number of the arches on the long side
of the patio. Such questions only a direct inspection of the site could resolve. I was sent,
therefore, by the Museum on a field trip to the castle in the spring of I959, to secure
photographs,measurements,and plans necessary to the reconstruction.The success of

this trip wouldnot have been possiblewithoutthe generousand enthusiasticcoopera-
tion of the Spanishauthorities,especiallythat of Don FranciscoPrieto Moreno,chief
architectfor the protectionof monumentsof Andalusiaand directorgeneralof the
divisionof architectureat the Ministryof the Interior.
The travelerwho, after havingadmiredthe beautiesof Granada,bravesthe dusty
road windingeastwardthroughthe desolaterangesof the SierraMariaand reaches
the villageof Velez Blanco,discoversthe svelte silhouetteof the castleof the Fajardos
standingupona rockyspurand dominatinga vast plain (Figure2). The warmyellow
glowof its wallsproudlyrisingagainstthe stony graymountainsand the southernblue
sky, the whitewashedhousesof the villageclusteringat its foot, and the vastexpanseof
the valley, dotted with olive treesand vine groves,make a truly unforgettablesight.
The castle'slofty walls and towers,extraordinarilywell preservedin their original
state, forman irregularpolygonalenclosure(Figure4). Directly in front of the main
entrancestandsa largemilitaryfortification,connectedby two archesto the wallsof
the castleproper.A rampformerlyled fromthisstructureto the castleentrance,which
openedsomethirtyfeet abovethe ground.Thisentrancewasoncedefendedby a draw-
bridge,whichdisappeared long ago, and by a heavy bronzedoor,sold in I904.
The imageevokedby the jagged,prismaticprofileof the walledenclosure,with its
impressivearrayof crenelatedbattlements,is that of a typicalAndalusianfortress,or
alcazaba,such as thoseat Almeriaand Guadix,or the castleof Jaen,all built by the
4. Groundplan of thecastleat Moorsin the fourteenthand fifteenthcenturies.Yet, uponapproaching, we discovera
VelezBlanco numberof less forbiddingfeaturesthat clearlybespeakits more peacefulcharacter.
Thesearethe relativelylargewindowsthat openhereand there,the elaboratearmorial
shieldsappliedupon the well-cutashlars,the two spaciousround-archedlittle look-
outs, or miradors,abovethe mainentrance(Figure3), and especiallythe elegantarcade
of the high gallery open to the outside- the airy paseadorso characteristicof late
fifteenthor earlysixteenthcenturySpanishcastlesand palaces.
As one entersthe castle,it becomesapparentthat the wallsdo not form the usual
militaryforecourtor placeof arms(patiode armas),but are ratherthe outsideshellof
what can be moreproperlydescribedas a fortifiedpalace.Today its interiorpresents
a sad pictureof dilapidation.The roomshave been strippedbareof furnishings,and
floorsand ceilingshave collapsed,as have someof the dividingwalls.Yet the original
planis clearlyrecognizable: threemainwingsof irregularlayout,onceoccupiedby the
apartmentsand dependencies,and a main tower,all lookinginto a centralcourtyard.
This was the patio, a slightly asymmetricalrectangulararea measuringabout fifty-
three by forty-sixfeet (Figure4).
The old photographsof the patio and the dealer'ssketch,combinedwith a careful
inspectionof the survivingwallsof thiscourtyard,give us ampleand,in general,uncon-
troversialinformationupon the originalarrangement of the marblefittings.Alongthe
shortsouthsiderana doublegallery of five Here,at one endof the groundfloor,
wasthe mainentranceto the patio.Nearbystarteda simplemarblestaircaseleadingto
the secondfloor,wherea sumptuousmarbleportalled into the castle'sgreatreception
halls,the Salondel Triunfoand the Salonde la Mitologia.One canstill clearlysee the
outlineof the doorwayon the wall,wherethe marbleswereencasedin the masonry,as
#; ;
? 5. Water-color sketchshowingan
4U :',S
X. v- view, of thepatiopriorto its
i~'~f~T removalfromthecastlein 9go4.
Photograph: TheHispanic
~ Societyof America

55i a:iP

well as the holes left by the beams of the flat, open-timber ceilings (Figure 8). To the i
east, a plain wall ended in a second-storygallery of six arches that correspondedto the
arches on the castle's exterior. Thus they formed not a simple paseador,open only to j^'
the outside, but a wide covered loggia, whence one could look both into the patio and
toward the endless vista of the great valley of Velez (Figure 7). Across from this wall
was a facadewith three pairsof superimposedwindows with rich marble enframements,
which have also left recognizabletracesin the masonry. Close to this facade was a very ,
simple hexagonal marble well, used to reach the large water reservoir built, in the
Moorish fashion, underneath the courtyard. The fourth, or north, side of the court
was closed by the main tower, its severe wall being broken only by a small window
placed at considerableheight. Below the window and slightly to one side was a large
shield encircled by a heavy fruit wreath (Figure 20), with the arms of Don Pedro i1

Fajardo, the powerful Marques of Velez for whom the castle was built.
In the present reconstruction, some modifications had to be made in adapting the
patio to the availablespace. The slightly irregularoriginalplan was changed to a perfect
rectangle, and the architecturalelements of the two long sides were exchanged, so that
the three tiers of windows could be placed on a blank wall of the pre-existing Museum
building.For similarconsiderationsthe orientationof the stairwaywas changed,and one
doorway was transposedfrom the second to the first floor. On the side once occupied
by the tower is displayed another doorway from Velez Blanco, together with an Italian 6 about cornerofte patio, as t looed
s88z. (Fromthe Boletin
balcony and an Italian portal, both almost contemporarywith the patio. Other changes de la SociedadEspala d
were necessarybecause of modern construction requirements;for instance, a course of Excursiones,1904)
marble blocks was added between the two stories to allow for the thicker and stronger
floorsneeded in a museum, in place of the wooden floorsand ceilings used in the castle.
Although these wooden ceilings and the dado of brightly colored luster tiles that once
lined the sides of the staircaseno longer exist, some of the color effect they provided is
happily re-created by the use, on the ceiling of the second-floor gallery, of an extraor-

7. The outsidegallery, or paseador,dinary ensemble of sixteenth century enameled Sevillian tiles (Figure 9).
as it now appearsin the castle, Another, perhapsmore regrettableloss is that of a balustradedparapet that once must
viewedfrom insidethepatio area. have run on three sides of the patio above the heavy marble entablature, consisting of
Photograph:Bayo an inscribedfrieze surmountedby a classicalegg-and-dartcornice, from which protrude
several large Gothic gargoyles. According to the dealer's drawing, a marble balustrade
with carved piers, similarto that of the second-floorgallery, stood on top of this cornice.
By the second half of the nineteenth century, when the deserted castle was used as a
shelter by some of the village people, both balustradeand cornice seem to have fallen
to the ground, for old photographsof the patio in situ - one of them taken as early as
i88I -show a makeshift tile roof resting directly upon the inscription. The evidence
of the Goldberg drawing is nonetheless corroborated by Federigo de Motos, a local
8. Part of the patio area, showing historian,who described the patio as having originally had a parapetabove the cornice.
wherethe doorframes and the The only elements of it that seem to be still extant are four carved piers that were
adapted in the Blumenthal house as decorative pilastersfor the staircase,and are still so
were inset
used in the present installation (Figure 46).
One of the most conspicuous features of the patio is the long inscription carved in
handsome Roman capitals that runs immediately beneath the cornice. Its text is for-
tunately complete. Couched in nobly classicalLatin, it proclaims the name and titles
of the builder of the castle, and also gives us the precise date of construction of the

Velez and fifth governor of the kingdom of Murcia of his lineage, erected this castle
as the castle of his title. This work was started in the year I506 after the birth of Christ
and finished in the year 1515.").

No better portrait can be found of the per- and ushered in a new era in its history. Dur-
sonality, the education, and the tastes of the ing his childhood two of the greatest events
Marques of Velez than that which emerges of his time had taken place. One was the last
from the many letters of his teacher and life- great chivalresqueventure of medieval Spain:
long friend, Pietro Martire d'Anghiera. Thus, after ten years of struggle, from 1482 to I492,
in a letter of August 8, 1507, we catch a the kingdom of Granada had been wrested
glimpse of a dashing young man as, with from the Moors. The other was the first great
princely pomp and circumstance, he rode to epic of the modern age: the wondrous dis-
welcome Ferdinand II of Aragon upon his coveries of the "western antipodes," which
return from the wars in Italy: "As soon as Columbus described after each voyage at the
our Pedro Fajardo -the governor of Murcia, court of the Catholic Kings, in details often
commonly called Adelantado-heard that the vividly reported in Pietro Martire's letters. 9. Southeastcornerof the upper
King had arrived at Valencia, a town close to Fajardo's lifetime thus coincided with the gallery, showing the ceramic
his lands, he rushed to meet him, with a ret- beginning of Spain's most creative period, ceiling tiles given to the Museum
inue of more than five hundred knights. the time of the country's greatest power and in 1959 by the Myron Taylor
They tell wonders about his pomp, elegance, energy. Foundation
and wealth, as well as that of the people who
accompany him. The people of Valencia and
Oriol are stunned at the great expense made.
Nobody talks about anything else than the
amiable and liberal magnificence of this
young man."
A month later, Fajardo's efforts received
official recognition: a decree signed by Queen
Joanna of Castile at Medina del Campo on
September I2, 1507 elevated the young man
to the dignity of first Marques of Velez, mak-
ing him one of the highest-ranking noblemen
of the kingdom of Spain.
Don Pedro Fajardo y Chac6n, to give him
his full name, was no newcomer to the court.
His father, Juan Chac6n, was comptroller
general of Castile, an influential post that se-
cured him the rarely conceded trust and affec-
tion of Queen Isabella. As to his mother, she
was Dofia Luisa Fajardo, lady in waiting to
the Queen, and the last of a powerful family
who for nearly a century had ruled, as direct
representatives of the Crown, one of the
richest provinces of Spain: the ancient Moor-
ish kingdom of Murcia. The eldest daughter
of the third Governor and Captain General
of Murcia, she received the privilege of trans-
mitting the name Fajardo to her first son,
together with the title of Governor, or Adel-
Don Pedro was probably born early in
I478, shortly after Ferdinand of Aragon and
Isabella of Castile had united Christian Spain
He was raisedand educatedin the imme- studiousinclinations.A brilliantspeakerand
diate entourageof the monarchs.As a boy, a brilliantmilitary leader,he was also well-
he had been among the choicegroupof the manneredand cultivated, and as fond of
sons of Spain'sgreatestfamiliesselected by readingand writingpoetry as of huntingand
the Queento receivea humanisticeducation, jousting.To these qualitieshe added a not
not at the universityof Salamanca,but pri- indifferentfortune. For, as was noted by
vately, at the handsof Pietro Martire.Mar- Antoinede Lalaing,a noblemanwho accom-
tire, a brilliantyoungItalianscholar,human- panied Philip the Fair on his first visit to
ist, and historian,had just been broughtto Spainin I50I, the yearlyincomeof the gov-
the court by the secondCount of Tendilla, ernorof Murciawas 14,000florinsandsecond
ambassadorextraordinaryto the Pope in only to that of the governorof Andalusia.
1487. In this "Academyfor YoungNobles," The beginningsof Fajardo'srule as gover-
Fajardohadamonghis schoolmatesthe Duke nor werenot easy.The regionover whichhe
of Braganza, the Duke of Villahermosa exercisedjurisdiction,partlyasthe representa-
(cousinto the King),and Don LuisHurtado tive of the Crownof Castile,andpartlyas the
de Mendoza,son of the Count of Tendilla most powerfulfeudal lord of the province,
andfutureMarquesof Mondejar,with whom had been for centuriesa frontierland,often
he was to share a lifelong friendship.For raidedby the Moorsentrenchedin the king-
severalyears, under Martire'sguidance,he dom of Granada.Even ten yearsafter their
learnedto readand enjoy the classicsand to surrenderof Granada,skirmishesand rebel-
expresshimselfin fluentand beautifulLatin- lions were still frequent,especiallyalong the
a Latinof whichhe wasso proudthat in I500, coastsof Almeriaand Cartagenaand in the
when he left the academyand withdrewfor mountainpasses.The last rebellion,in I500,
a time to Murcia,he askedhis masterto allow had beensuppressedwith the help of Fajardo
him to continueusingit in hiscorrespondence, himself, who in a quick move attacked the
so as not to run the riskof forgettingit. Moorsfromthe rearandsavedthe King from
When, at the death of his fatherin 1503, fallinginto the handsof the rebels.
Pedro Fajardowas confirmedin the title of Yet, in spite of this distinguishedconduct,
fifth Adelantado,he left the court and es- Don Pedro'sgreatestdifficultieswere in his
tablishedhis residenceat Murcia,the capital relationswith the royalauthority.Ever since
of his lands.He had just turnedtwenty-five. their marriagein I469, the monarchshad
io. The castle of Manzanaresel From the lettersof his teacherwe learnthat exercisedfirmand severerestraintagainstthe
Real (completedabout 1480). he wasa youngmanof burningambitionand ambitionsof an unrulyfeudalnobility.From
Photograph:Mas exalted imagination,as well as of unusually the very first days of his governorship,Fa-
jardoexperiencedall the weight of Isabella's
hand. Less than three weeksafter the death
of hisfatherhe hadto agree,quitereluctantly,
to returnto the Crownthe most treasuredof
his possessions:the strategicallyimportant
port of Cartagena,whichhis grandfatherhad
receivedas a personalappanagefrom King
Henry IV of Castile in I466. In exchange,
Fajardowas given a groupof Moorishtowns
in the valley of Velez, together with some
surroundinglands. The most important of
these was the fortifiedtown of Veled-Albiad,
or Velez Blanco, the seat of an important
Moorishstrongholdthat had surrenderedto
the King in 1488.
The forcedexchangeof Cartagenawasnot
II, 12. The coats of arms of Don
PedroFajardoy Chacon(left)
and his wife Dona Mencia de la
Cueva (right), carvedon the
first-floor spandrels

young Fajardo's only disappointment. Six of the Duke of Albuquerque, a Mendoza de

months later his honor suffered an even more la Vega through her grandmother, and sister-
humiliating episode, when the Queen let him in-law of the Duke of Alba. Now the Fajardo
know that, as punishment for his rather high- arms - three bunches of nettle leaves over
handed conduct of military affairsin Murcia, three rocks in the sea-could be proudly dis-
he was suspended from his governorship and played next to those of the dukes of Albu-
would have to live five miles from the court, querque, carrying a dragon issuant from a
following its continuous changes of residence. cave and a borderof shields with the Mendoza
His exile and suspension, however, did not de la Vega motto, Ave Maria (Figures I, 12).
last long. On November 26, I504 Isabella
died, and less than a month later Don Pedro
had the sentence revoked by Queen Joanna. TheArchitectof the Castle
Local historians record that he arrived at
Velez Blanco at the beginning of I505, to We do not know the name of the architect to
take formal possession of his new lands. whom Pedro Fajardo turned for the erection
Clearly this was the moment when he decided of the castle of Velez Blanco, but his name
to make it his home and to erect his own alone would not tell us much more than we
family castle upon the foundations of the old are able to learn by studying his building.
Moorish fortress. The building he probably Typically Spanish decorative motifs, such as
envisaged was a castle-palace similar to those the many coats of arms liberally applied to
that some of the greatest Spanish nobles had the castle's fagade, and a number of structural
built one generation earlier in Castile-the details, such as the hexagonal pilasters of the
castle of Manzanares el Real near Madrid paseadorwith their decorative bands of pellets
(Figure io), the seat of the Duke of el In- (Figure I3) and the use of segmental arches
fantado, or that of Cuellar near Segovia, the and flat timber ceilings with exposed beams
seat of the Duke of Albuquerque. In 50o6 in the patio galleries, clearly show that we
construction started, in proud defiance of have here a Spanish master trained in the
repeated royal orders against the building of tradition of late Gothic architecture. The
such castles, and surely as a gesture of inde- patio itself, so intimately related to the rest
pendence and personal power, more than as a of the castle, was certainly planned by this
defense against the ever-diminishing danger Spanish architect, and its structure can be
of Moorish uprisings. understood only if we consider it within its
Nor was his ambitious program limited to architectural context.
this. Two years later, he divorced his first A clue to the architect's identity may per-
wife, who had given him no offspring, and on haps be found in another Fajardo building
February I4, 50o8 married Dofia Mencia de still in progress in 50o6, the year the castle
la Cueva y Toledo, a direct relation of three was started. This is the sumptuous family
of the most powerful nobles of Spain: daughter chapel in the Cathedralof Murcia (Figure 14),

13. Isabellinecapitals of the which had been beguna few yearsearlierby
paseador. Photograph: Pedro'sfatherand was completed,according
Alfonso Martinez Gasquez to the inscriptionrunningunder its cupola,
by Pedro himself on October 14, I507. Al-
though this work too is anonymous, its style
tells us a great deal. A splendid example of
Gothic architecture, its polygonal ground
plan imitates the famous sepulchral chapels
of Alvaro de Luna at Toledo and of the Con-
destable de Castilla at Burgos, both of the
second half of the preceding century. Its
decoration displays the favorite elements of
14. The chapel of Los Velez in the that extraordinary mixture of Gothic and
Cathedralof Murcia (completed Moorish forms characteristic of Spanish
in I507). Photograph:Mas buildings of the time of Queen Isabella. In
the wealth of ornament lavished upon its
innerwallswe notice the lusciousfronds,the
elaborate Gothic pinnacles, the segmental
arches,the rows and clustersof pellets, and
the great armorials,sometimesenclosed in
heavy fruit wreaths,that were also used in
the Palaciodel Infantadoat Guadalajara and
at the Colegiode San Gregorioat Valladolid.
Certainly,judgingfromthesedetails,it would
seem that the architectof the Velez chapel
wasa mastertrainedin the schoolsof Burgos
andToledoandmusthave beenin directcon-
tact with such leading Isabellinemastersas
Simonde ColoniaandJuanGuas.Yet hisown
version of the late Gothic Spanishstyle is
more than usually tinged with Moorishin-
fluences, obviously due to the survival of
stronglocaltraditionsin thissouthernregion,
at the very borderof Andalusia.Thus, inter-
twined with the Gothic details, we notice
Hispano-Moresque forms such as the leafy
bed surroundingthe crucifixon the central
wall, the use of Moorishdecorativemotifs
like the little merlons and machicolations,
and, most striking, the outright Moorish-
not Gothic- rhythm with which the walls
are coveredwith motifs built up in strongly
It would be tempting to recognize the
masterwho drew the plansfor the castle of
Velez Blancoin the architectof the Fajardo
chapel. For in spite of the basic structural
differencesbetween the two buildingstheir
architecturalstyle reveals a very similar,
originalcombinationof late Gothicwith His-
pano-Moresque traits. This is especially ap- castle seems to justify the Italian character of
parent in the plan of the patio. Its irregular the carvings, one is left with the impression
arrangement is entirely at variance not only that they were not planned by Fajardo's
with the Renaissance style of its marbles, architect, but were rather the result of a
but also with the usual design of the patios of sudden change of heart on the part of the
contemporary Castilianpalaces.These, wheth- Marques himself. They speak of a definite
er late Gothic or Renaissance in decorative intellectual desire to surround himself with
treatment, normally are nearly square in plan an architectural environment evocative of
and consist of two stories of arcades on all the antique world and of the splendors of the
four sides, with a centrally located doorway great Italian palaces of the day. But if, as it
that connects the patio directly with the out- seems, Don Pedro Fajardo had never been
side of the building. At Velez Blanco, by con- to Italy, what were the circumstancesthat led
trast, the elongated shape of the ground plan, him to this decision, where did he find the
the windowed wall, the arcaded portico at Italian workers able to carry out his wishes, 15. The patio of the Casa de las
one short end, and the side entrance are struc- and what designs or models did they follow? Conchasat Salamanca (finished
tural features that can be consistently ex- The answers must be sought, I believe, in a about 1512). Photograph: Mas
plained only if we compare them to the typi-
cal layout of the Moorish patios of Andalusia.
These, like the Patio de los Arrayanes at the
Alhambra,for instance,areusually rectangular,
with windowed walls, arcades at either one
short end or both, and always a side entrance,
to avoid a direct view of the patio from the
vestibule, in keeping with the Arab desire
for privacy.
According to the architectural practice of
the day, the architect need not have been
continuously present throughout the nine
years of the castle's construction. He probably
worked out only the traza, or design of the
structure, and left the building supervision
to a local master. In all probability the masons
themselves were recruited from the Moorish
population of the region. This is indicated by
several peculiarities of construction: the
backs of some of the carved marble blocks,
for example, have been carefully finished be-
fore they were encased in the masonry -a
specifically Moorish technique.
The completely unclassical plan of the
patio suggests that at the outset the decora-
tion of marble carvings was envisaged in the
Isabelline style, with Gothic and Hispano-
Moresque motifs, such as we see in the patios
of the Palacio del Infantado at Guadalajara
or of the Casa de las Conchas at Salamanca
(Figure I5), and not in the pure Renaissance
style so conspicuously proclaimed by its
graceful capitals, balustrades, and pilasters.
Since nothing, moreover, in the rest of the
contemporary event of crucial importance: Cardinal," Primate of Spain. Cardinal Men-
the construction of the castle-palace of Ladoza had given Spain its first Renaissance
Calahorra,on the road between Velez Blanco building, the Colegio de Santa Cruz in Valla-
and Granada, for Don Rodrigo de Vivar y dolid, erected between 1487 and I49I; for
Mendoza, first Marques of el Cenete. Its its facade his personal architect, Lorenzo
story is well known and may prove to be an Vazquez of Segovia, had used elements of de-
sign borrowed directly from Tuscan and
interesting and startlingly direct parallel to
Bolognese palaces. Like his father and other
that, still unknown, of the Velez Blanco Patio.
members of the Mendoza family, Don Rod-
rigo was an enthusiastic patron of the newly
imported Italian forms, which contempora-
TheCastle-Palace of LaCalahorra ries described as a la antigua ("in the manner
of the ancients"), to distinguish them from
Don Rodrigo de Vivar y Mendoza, related to the modern, or Gothic, style. In i509, three
Fajardo's wife through her grandmother, was years after construction at Velez Blanco had
16. The courtyardof La Calahorra the eldest of the two legitimized sons of Don started, he asked Vazquez to build him a
(1509-1512). Photograph:Mas Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, the "Great castle at La Calahorra. On the outside, La
Calahorra has the aspect of a square fortress
surrounded by round towers and machicola-
tions (Figure I8), but inside this austere Cas-
tilian structure, Don Rodrigo, who had spent
several years in Italy, wished to have a true
Italian palace, with an arcaded courtyard in
the Lombard style and a profusion of carved
marbles (Figure I6).
For such a Renaissanceinterior, the precar-
ious knowledge of Lorenzo Vazquez was not
sufficient, nor were the uncertain skills of the
local stone carvers. Thus the role of the
Spanish architect was confined to construct-
ing the fortified shell of the castle and some
of the dependencies, while a contract was
signed with an Italian architect and sculptor
(magisteret sculptormarmorum)to come down
to La Calahorrato complete its interior. This
was Michele Carlone, one of the best masters
among the many Lombard architect-sculptors
established in Genoa and active along the
whole of the Ligurian coast, from Savona to
A number of documents inform us about
the history of the construction of the court-
yard in great detail. Carlone arrived around
December I509. A few weeks later he was
forwarding several orders with drawings and
measurements to his Lombard correspondents
in Genoa, for carving a portal enframement,
balusters, and capitals and pedestals for
twenty-four columns out of "good, fine, and
white" Carraramarble. In the spring of 1510
theseand other consignmentswere delivered seem to have been also skilledin designand
to La Calahorra,and can still be recognized construction,for they were calledmagistride
as the elementsused on the secondfloor of muro ("architects")and magistriantelami
the courtyard. ("sculptors").Three of them were originally
AlthoughCarlone'sordershad been filled from Gandria,a village on the easternshore
with considerablespeed, the Marques,anx- of Lake Lugano: Egidio and Giovanni da
ious to have his castlecompletedwithoutde- Gandriade la Verda,andBaldassare da Gand-
lay, decided to import a whole group of riade Pedraccis;the last one, Pietro Antonio
Italian carversas well. On June 6, 15IOa de Curto,came from Carona,a village south
contractwasdrawnwith sevenexpertmarble of Luganoin the mountainsoverlookingthe
carversto travel to Spain and work under lake. The Ligurianswere paid three ducatsa
Carlone'sdirection.The time limit set for the month; the Lombards,seven and a half,
job was one year. Four were Lombardand while Egidio da Gandria,who acted as fore-
three were Ligurian. The Ligurianswere man for the entire group, received eight
called simply laboratores("workers")and ducats.
came from around Porto Maurizio, near The parts due to this group of Italian 17. The east side of the patio from
Genoa. The Lombards,on the other hand, workersare clearlyrecognizableat La Cala- Velez Blanco

horra,for they aremadenot of Carrara
marble lion masks. The galleries are roofed with
but of local sandstone.Some are door and typically Italian crossvaults springingfrom
window frameswith figuralelements; these carvedbrackets,and the uppergalleryhas a
must have been carvedafter designsby Car- simple, classic balustrade.There are also
lone, for they closely resemble a marble somespecificallyGenoesetouches,suchas the
doorway, now in the Victoria and Albert black-and-whitestripesof the facing of the
Museum, that he executed in i503 for the uppergallery,and the monumentaltreatment
Palazzo Pallavicinoin Genoa. Other sand- of the stairwayspringingfrom the center of
stone door enframementsare differentin de- one of the courtyard'ssides.
signandornament,andprobablyreflectmotifs In contrastto this, the fundamentalstruc-
peculiarto Egidio da Gandriaand his men. ture of Don Pedro's courtyard(Figure 17)
Spurredby the arrivalof the men from is certainly more traditional, reflecting the
Italy, workproceedednow with all necessary strongly Spanish, conservative taste of its
z8. Groundplan of the castleof La speed, even though Carloneseems to have architect in the asymmetrical layout, the use
left by the middle of I5II. On September i, of Gothic gargoyles, the flat-timbered ceilings
Calahorra.(From V. Lamperez
1512 a beautiful Italian marble fountain was of the galleries, and the low, segmental arches.
y Romea, ArquitecturaCivil
placed in the middle of the courtyard, in- Yet many decorative details are significantly
dicating the castle was probably finished by close to La Calahorra: here also appears a
that time. frieze with a Latin inscription; coats of arms
We need but little imagination to under- are also used decoratively in the spandrels of
stand the deep impression that the sight of the arches; there is a similar balustrade with
La Calahorra must have made on Pedro carved dividing piers along the second-floor
Fajardo, who certainly had occasion to visit gallery, and, most important, there is also a
this nearby house of his wife's kinsman. profusionof carvedornament- especiallythe
Fajardo may or may not have fully under- similarly emphasized door and window frames
stood the beauty of the spatial relationships - composed of Italian Renaissance decorative
of Carlone's Italian Renaissance architecture. motifs. This decoration, however, unlike the
But he certainly must have admired and en- work at La Calahorra,which was made of Car-
vied the magnificence of the doorways and rara marble or local sandstone, is carved from
windows, with all the ordered richness of the white marble quarried at Macael in the
their classical decoration, lending an aura of nearby Filabres mountains, just north of Al-
foreign and refined elegance to Don Rodrigo's meria. In the choice of this material, Don
palace. Pedro or his architect exploited a deep knowl-
Perhaps, indeed, his reactions went further edge of local Moorish traditions, for the fine
than simple admiration; La Calahorra might Macael marble, of only slightly thicker grain
well have directly influenced the decoration than that of Carrara,had often been used by
of Velez Blanco. This possibility is made the Moors for the columns and carved capi-
clear by a comparison of the inner courts of tals, floors, and fountains of their palaces in
the two castle-palaces. The courtyard of La Granada.
Calahorra, serene and dignified, looks like The idea of arraying the patio's Spanish
that of an early Renaissance palace in north- framework in the splendid new fashion from
ern Italy. It is perfectly regular, with a square Italy almost surely came from Don Rodrigo's
ground plan and identically treated sides: all palace. But where did Don Pedro find the
consist of a double gallery of five Italian Italian sculptors? Could the carvers as well
round arches, with the arms of the Mendoza as the idea have come from La Calahorra?
and Fonseca families, encircled by fruit In the absence of documents like those we
wreaths, in the spandrels; an inscription in have for La Calahorra, the only evidence for
Latin runs continuously around the second- or against such a theory is the evidence of
floor gallery; over the inscription, in turn, style. We must look at the carvings them-
is placed a marble cornice set with classical selves.

The Carvings and windows.The lively profilesof the capi-
tals and the deep undercuttingof the reliefs
of the VelezBlancoPatio create strong effects of light and shade, a
pleasantcontrastto the plain surfacesof the
columns,the balusters,and the archeswith
As we enter the Velez Blanco Patio, we must their strong, simple moldings. Everywhere
for a moment imagine the sparkling effect of the decorationis entirelysuited to the archi-
these gleaming white carvings when they tecturalpart to which it is applied,showing
were set off by the yellow sandstone ashlars discrimination and taste in the choice of or-
of the tower. To this the different treatment namentand in its organizationand spacing.
of each side added a note of gay variety, and The architecturaland sculptural motifs
gave the patio the festive air of a court of employed throughout the patio reflect the
honor set out for the display of medieval pag- most refinedand capriciousphase of Italian
eantry, tournaments, and games, rather than early Renaissancestyle, which flourishedin
the restrained dignity of a palatial courtyard. the last two decadesof the fifteenthcentury
But the main decorative effect came then, and in the years immediately following I500.
as now, from the richness of the sculptural In this period the calm sobriety and elegant
ornament. The eye is provoked and amused restraint of Florentine ornament, created by
by the seemingly endless arrayof fanciful flora Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Michelozzo, gave
and fauna lavished upon the spandrels and way to the exuberant and varied decoration
intrados of the arches, on the piers of the developed by younger masters, such as the 9. The six windows along the north
balustrade, and especially around the doors Sienese Francesco di Giorgio and the Floren- wall of the patio

20. Doorway leading into the patio, underthefirst-floor arcade. Beside it is mounted the coat of
arms of Fajardoy Chacon,formerly on the wall of the castle tower

21. The patio looking southwest. The doorways at left centerand upper right come from Velez
tine Giuliano da Sangallo. It was an analytical
style, composed of motifs either invented or,
more often, borrowed from ancient monu-
ments, combined with naturalistic and anti-
quarian details- foliage, birds, monsters,
medals, vases, and the like-popular among
the north Italian, especially Lombard, artists,
such as the Milanese Ambrogio Barocci or
Giovanni Antonio Amadeo.
The taste for this rich type of decoration,
often called alla Lombarda, spread all over
Italy, as far south as Rome and Naples, but
reached its most accomplished expression in
some of the most famous north Italian build-
ings of the time: first in the palace of the Duke
of Montefeltro at Urbino, where both Tuscan
and Lombard craftsmen worked; later in the
Lombardesquechurches and palaces of Venice
and of the towns of the Venetian territory,
like Verona and Vicenza; and still later in the
palaces of Ferrara.
Reminiscent of Venice, for instance, is the
most sumptuous part of the patio: the three
tiers of window frames that, laid out like
precious embroidered hangings, are tied to-
gether by a plain horizontal molding (Figure
19). As far as I know, there is no precedent
for this dramatic arrangement in Spanish
Gothic architecture; it is very similar, how-
ever, to the way in which the facades of late
fifteenth century Venetian palaces, like the
Palazzo Manzoni-Angaran and the Palazzo
Piovene, are divided vertically by windows,
while the unity and flatness of the wall is
emphasized by the horizontal line of the
marble moldings.
Arched windows are a typical feature of
Lombard architecture in general, but this
combination of rounded windows on the top
floor with square ones below also occurs ings of the ducal palace at Venice that were
especially often in Venice; it goes on there completed immediately before and after
even as late as the first quarter of the six- 1500. Here we also find examples of the same
teenth century, though usually the windows effective use of plain arches over the windows
are less elaborately framed. Parallels to the as a contrast to the carvings surrounding
ornate windowsill panels and pilasters may them-a purely pictorial, rather than struc-
be found both in the rich, symmetrical com- tural, way of treating the frame. Other north
positions carved in I495 by Tommaso da Italian examples are recalled by the high
Lugano and Bernardino da Como for the lintels with paired decorative panels that
Loggia del Vescovado at Vicenza, and in the surmount the arched windows at Velez
parts of the extraordinarily elaborate carv- Blanco: in details and proportions they re-


The uppergallery of the patio

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semble contemporary Genoese doorways,
like that of the PalazzoCattaneodel Grillo,
carved about I504-I508 by the Lombard
Antonio della Porta.
The differentshapesof the windowsare
echoedby thoseof the doors(Figure21): the
rectangularline of the lower windowsis re-
peatedin the patio'smaindoorway,now the
principalentranceto the ThomasJ. Watson
Library,while the line of the upper ones is
reflectedin the round-arched portalnow dis-
played on the second story the west wall.
Both doorshave north Italianforebears:the
archedone is like somedatingfrom the early
sixteenthcenturyin Bergamo,while the en-
tablatureof the othercan be comparedto the
maindoorwayof the PalazzoProsperiat Fer-
rara,built shortlyafter I500. The balconyof
the PalazzoProsperi,incidentally,is almost
identicalto the balustradeof the patio, while
precedentfor the use of such a balustradeas
an overall crowningmotif can be found in
otherpreciselycontemporary Lombardbuild-
ings,suchas the Churchof the Incoronataat
Lodi,completedby Amadeoin I5I3. A third OPPOSITE:

South arcadeof the uppergallery

doorwayof the patiohasstilla differentshape, 22.

repeatingthe segmentalcurveof the Spanish

arches (Figure 20); now a side entrance to the 23, 24. Capitalsof thefirst-floorarcade
first-floorarcade,it wasprobablyonce inside
the Salondel Triunfo,and its extraordinarily
deep jambs testify to the thicknessof the
No Renaissance architecturalelementseems
to embody the full measureof the classic
idealmoreperfectlythan the carvedcapital.
To fifteenthcenturyeyes,still usedto Gothic
intricacies,the sightof a splendidarrayof crisp
and graceful capitals (Figures 22-24, 26-27)
must have seemedas captivatingas it does to
ours,wearyof the debasedlinesof neo-Renais-
sanceornamentandof the rigorof contempo-
raryarchitecture.The capitalsat VelezBlanco
areexquisiteexamplesof thedelightfulvariety
andclassicaldisciplineachievedby the Italian
architect-sculptorsof the late quattrocento.
Someare the elegantbut sobervariationson
the RomanCorinthianand compositetypes
that we findfromBrunelleschidownto Giul-
ianoda Sangallo,equallyoften in Renaissance
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monuments of Florence, Rome, and north
Italy. But more frequent and more character-
istic are, instead, the kind that Lombard
designers delighted in -capitals on which
playful, unclassical elements are introduced.
In one case, the normal volutes are replaced
by rams' heads and human faces (Figure 27),
like capitals of the portal of the Palazzo
Thiene at Vicenza, of about I500; in another,
by paired dolphins drinking out of a vase
(Figure 23), like those at Venice (San Stef-
ano), at Vicenza (San Bartolomeo), and at
Verona (Loggia del Vescovado); and, in still
others, by serpent-tailed leopards. Elsewhere
the traditional acanthus leaves are enlivened
25. Capitals in the courtyard(1492-1493) of the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara.
by grinning, big-eared masks (Figure 26) or
fluttering birdsor tiny shieldswith the Fajardo
arms (Figure 24), all treated with the cheer-
26 (opposite), 27 (below). Capitalsof thefirst-floor arcade of the patio
ful, unconventional imagination that presided
over the capitals of many north Italian build-
ings, especially in Ferrara,like the Palazzo dei
Diamanti (Figure 25).
Such a variety of precedents may seem con-
fusing at first, but it can be easily explained.
For in all of the monuments mentioned, the
ornamental parts were carved by Lombard
artisans who specialized in this particular
repertory of decorative forms-a tradition
handed on from father to son. Most of these
stonecarvers came from the mountain vil-
lages near the lakes of Como and Lugano;
they first found work, often in groups or
families, in the great architectural enter-
prises of the late fifteenth century: the facade
of the Certosa of Pavia, the ducal palace in
Venice, or the Cathedral of Como. The style
of their designs and the motifs they most
frequently employed can often be traced
back to the influence of the leading masters
they worked under, such as Giovanni An-
tonio Amadeo, who directed work at the
Certosa from 1481 to about 1499, Pietro
Lombardo and his sons, Tullio and Antonio,
who were active in Venice from I479 until
about 1510, and the Rodari brothers at Como,
from 1487 to I5I3. In many instances we can
distinguish the more Gothicizing and angular
style of the craftsmen trained at Pavia and
Como from the more classically balanced and
fluid language of those who worked in the
Venetian area.

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If we examine the motifs at Velez Blanco are arrangedas arrestingstill lifes of great
more closely, we notice that, for all their charm for the eye (Figure 3i). These are
elaboration, they always preserve the con- motifs frequentlyused in north Italian and
trolled clarity of form and organization, the Tuscan monumentsof the time; like the
vivid naturalism, and the bold, three-dimen- pilasters so impeccably carved by Gian
sional quality characteristicof the quattrocento CristoforoRomanoon the PortadellaGuerra
tradition. Strongly symmetrical as the com- at Urbinoand on the tomb of GaleazzoVis-
positions are, they are vigorous and interest- conti at the Certosadi Pavia,they wereoften 33. Detail of the balustradeof Santa
ing, with certain basicmotifs - scrollingfoliage, adapted from a set of immensely popular Maria dei Miracoli in Venice
dolphins, birds, vases, cornucopias-worked Romantrophy reliefsnow in the Uffizi. But (1481-I489). Photograph:
into countless variations (Figure 32). The tri- at Velez Blanco the combinationof contem- Bohm
umph of the designer's skill is the treatment porary with the
antiqueshapes, finelystippled ., a,a~~
of the pilasters, with their narrow, difficult details(perhapsonce touchedup with gold),
proportions. The compositions that fill these the delicatestiacciatorelief that imitatesthe
spaces are arranged either as ascending de- embossed surface of contemporaryparade
signs or as hanging garlands.Of the first type, armor,and the simple,quattrocento-like ver-
called "candelabra,"some are conceived as an tical sequence of the work immediately
imaginary plant rising from a vase or tuft of bring to mind carvingsat Venice.There, in
acanthus, with the central stem occasionally the pilastersby the school of Pietro Lom-
interrupted by a pair of dolphins with inter- bardo in Santa Maria dei Miracoli (Figure
twined tails, or a bird pecking at clusters of 33) and on the Vendramintomb in Santi
berries (Figure 28). Others exploit the dec- Giovanni e Paolo, we encounter similar
orative effect of mirror-images of various reminiscences of antique motifs, interpreted
animals and objects; they are even more not with antiquarianpedantrybut with the
properly named candelabra, for their basic refinementand livelinessthat are the peculiar
structure is that of a succession of tazzas charmof the VenetianRenaissance.
rising along a thin shaft from a triangular There are even more preciseparallelsbe-
candelabrum base (Figure 29). As for the tween candelabraat Velez Blanco and at
hanging garlands, they are made of bunches Santa Maria dei Miracoli: both the shape
of fruit and military trophies, which are shown and the fine tooling of the triangularbases
strung along a ribbon and convincingly at- with lions' feet on two of the patio's doors
tached to a peg or to a ring held by an animal (Figure 34) are surprisinglyclose to details
mask (Figure 30). on the Venetianpilasters(Figure 35). Also
The pilasters with such trophies and with typically Venetian are a number of mon-
musical instruments are among the most at- strous creatures-lions and leopards with
tractive of the carvings. Helmets, suits of curling serpent tails, long-neckedbasilisks,
armor, panoplies of shields, swords, and and dolphinswith curiouswhiskeredhuman
daggers, trumpets, flutes, cymbals, and drums faces-that are the direct and undoubted
offspring of an earlier generation of similar dow frames of the Cathedral of Como (Fig-
monsters that had appeared some twenty- ure 39).
five years before in the main doorway of the In contrast to such exuberant animal life,
Scuola di San Marco (Figure 36). it is baffling to find so little use of the human
In fact, the abundance of animal monsters figure. While, at La Calahorra, two of the
is one of the most striking features of the portals designed by Michele Carlone display
carvings at Velez Blanco. Almost everywhere gods, tritons, and nymphs adapted from
appear the wild, fantastic animalsof the north Roman sarcophagi, at Velez Blanco there
Italian repertory - the mostri e miscugli only appear a few timid putti, in the span-
("monsters and crossbreeds") mentioned in drels of the upper-floor gallery (Figure 41),
contracts of the time. Next to rams and dogs and two winged half-women, on a window
we see mountain goats with leafy bodies and panel (Figure 42). And, for all the decorative
serpent tails, griffins, dragons, and sphinxes, fluency of these winged creatures' leafy
all treated with lively, playful, almost ag- bodies, they are really quite conservative in
gressive imagination. Some of them are appearance,more similar to the figuresfound,
really the harbingers of the new taste for not in Venice, but in the more provincial
grotesque decoration (Figure 37), and re- work of the Cathedral of Como or in some of
mind us of the creatures jotted down in the the doorways of Genoa.
sketchbook of Giuliano da Sangallo after the In the Velez Blanco marbles there are def-
recently discovered frescoes of Nero's Golden inite variations in the quality of execution,
House in Rome (Figure 38). Others, like the due to the participation of different hands.
sphinxes on one of the spandrels (Figure 40), The most sensitive carving occurs in the
are traditional, having been frequently used capitals, in the coats of arms of the spandrels,
not only in Venice and its neighboring towns, in the main doorway, in some of the window
but also on the pilasters of the door and win- panels - the two griffinsor the paired dragons
(Figure 44)-and in the pilasters with mili-
34. Detail of a pilaster of the main
tary trophies. All these were probably the
doorway work of one or two of the very best sculptors.
In their excellent design and their accom-
35. Detail a
of pilaster of Santa Maria dei plished technique they come closest to the
Miracoli in Venice. Photograph:Bohm pilaster decorations of Venice.
Less distinguished are the parts due to
craftsmen of more provincial and uncertain
abilities. These are, for instance, the pilasters
of the round-archeddoorway with their some-
what clumsy and generalized rendering of
vases and tripods, much of the upper right
window with the motif of two cornucopiason
its front panel (Figure 43), and, in general, all
the elements with less finely executed foliage.
Still another workman was probably re-
sponsible for the carving of the gargoyles and
some of the stylized floral motifs and animal
monsters in the intrados of the arches and in
the pilasters of the balustrade and stairway
(Figures 45-46). His seems to be a strangely
retardatairemanner, still redolent of Gothic
sharpness and unbridled imagination, and
comes closest in style to some of the carvings
of Como cathedral.
Thus the entire complexof marblesof the
Velez BlancoPatio is probablythe workof a .s,,
.x .

group of four or five marblecarvers.All of

them, judging from the motifs employed, ^~,
seemto havebeenLombards,with a gamutof *^**^ ^/~~~s
previous experience that ranged from the
distinctlyVenetianbackgroundof the leader
of the group,to the more provincialmanner
of those men who might have learnedtheir
craft at the Rodariworkshopat Como. The
presenceof craftsmenwith a Como back-
ground is also supportedby the fact that
therewasoncein the castlea reliefthat, judg-
ing from a photograph(Figure47), was ex-
tremely close in style to some of the reliefs
on the facadeof the Cathedralof Como.
For all their richnessof effect, the Velez
Blanco carvingsare basedon relativelyfew
motifs and compositions.This remarkable
unity of designclearlyindicatesthat the deco-
rativeelementswerederivedfromone major
source.This was probablya sketchbookor
pattern book containinga repertoryof iso-
lated elements-details of classical armor, 38. Detailfromthesketchbook of
candelabracompositions,designs for friezes Giulianoda Sangalloin the
and capitals-which, following the practice BibliotecaComunaleof Siena
of the day, could be combinedand adapted (S IV.8,f 41). (FromR.
in endless individual variations.A few of Falb, II TaccuinoSenesedi
these sketches,such as may have been used Giulianoda San Gallo)
for the entablatureand some of the capitals,
in Rome, perhapsdrawn directly from the
originals or, as was more often the case,
copied from earlier drawings.Others, like

36. Detail of a pilaster of the main

portal of the Scuola di San
Marco in Venice(about 1490).
(From PietroPaoletti di
Osvaldo, L'Architetturae la
Scultura del Rinascimentoin

37. Detail of the centralupper

window of the patio
the candelabra arrangements, probably were It is possible that an all-purpose Italian
taken from specific Renaissance monuments; sketchbook served as the source of decoration
they could also have been workshop notes, not only in the patio but in other rooms of
copies ultimately derived from original de- the castle, too. The same basic motifs have
signs of leading Italian masters. An instance been adapted to the design of the friezes and
of a contemporary sketchbook is the well- wooden doors and ceilings that used to be
known Codex Escurialensis(Figure 48), com- elsewhere at Velez Blanco but that are today,
posed around I49I, possibly by an artist of unfortunately, dispersed. The photographs of
the shop of Domenico Ghirlandaio. It is a some of these parts are quite significant in
particularly good example, since this manu- this respect. For we recognize the same Italian
script, which came to the Escorial from the repertory of symmetrically treated Renais-
library of Cardinal Don Diego Hurtado de sance elements - candelabra with urns and
Mendoza (I503-1575)-a close relative of paired monsters, or birds picking and flutter-
Don Rodrigo- was used by Michele Carlone ing amidst the foliage- in the coffers of the
for one of the doorways at La Calahorra.Al- wooden ceiling from one of the great halls of
though it is impossible to connect it directly the castle (Figure 49) or in a door otherwise
with Velez Blanco, it shows us clearly what purely Gothic and Moorish in design (Figure
the source book used in the patio might have 50). Here, of course, we no longer see the
39. Tympanumof a portal on looked like, and helps us to understand the work of Italian hands, but probably that of
the south side of the Cathedral complex interplay of ancient and Renaissance skilled local wood carvers, who may have
of Como (about 149I). elements that is at the root of the Velez had access to the same pattern book used for
Photograph:Alinari Blanco ensemble. the carvings of the patio.

40, 4z. Confronted sphinxes and a putto on
second-floorspandrelsof the patio

At this point we may well ask ourselves if
there is any evidence of the identity of the
Italian, or rather Lombard, marble sculptors
who worked on the Velez Blanco Patio. Did
Don Pedro follow the example of Don Rod-
rigo and import them directly from Italy, or
did he avail himself of Italian hands already
in the region, working on some other commis-
sion? Could they, finally, have been the same
men who had worked at La Calahorra? I
would be inclined to support the last sugges-
There are, indeed, significant resemblances
between some of the pilasters at Velez Blanco it, ~:
and those at La Calahorra, where we often 'L'' t t- I II

see the same consistently high relief as well

as the same ornamental motifs. On the door-
way to the Salon del Occidente in Don Rod-
rigo's castle we encounter a candelabra base
with two feet in the shape of wolves' heads,
paired dolphins with whiskered human faces,
and serpent-tailed griffins-all seen again at
Velez Blanco. And on the portal that once
led to the chapel of La Calahorra(Figure 52)
we find a candelabra composition with two
serpent-tailed winged sphinxes at the base,
paired griffins and other monsters, and two
helmets suspended from a vase, each almost
identical to those on one of the windows of
the patio (Figure 51). Such parallels reveal,
in my opinion, not only a common source of
design, but possibly even the work of the
same marble carvers.
This suggestion is fully borne out by the
sequence of events. The Latin inscription in
the patio states that the castle was begun in
I506 and completed in I 515. Since, obviously,
the marbles must have been carved during
the last three or four years, after all the struc-

42. Windowsillpanel with winged half-women

43. Upperright window of the patio

44. Windowsillpanel with two dragons

45. Gargoyleon the north wall

46. Carvedpilaster installed on

the stairway, but probably
one of thepiersoftheformer
balustradeon top of thepatio
47. Relief said to have been once in the Salon del Triunfo of Velez Blanco. (From V. Lamperez
v Romea, ArquitecturaCivil Espanola)

48. Page of the CodexEscurialensis(f 21 v.). (From thefacsimile edition of

H. Egger)

.....= ... _ tural parts were completed, we may reason-

< i:: ably surmise that they were started about
'*< : t Ix512.
0 Such a date would coincide exactly
with the end of the work at La Calahorra,
ft w ko
for we know tha
that this had been finished by
" September 1512. It is perfectly plausible,
![ AM
K 4''^2 ~
.*-^*^y^B|p? ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~' and even probable, that the sculptors whom
Don Pedro Fajardo employed were no others
.....f " than the Lombards from La Calahorra - the

thesis is the fact that, when confronted with

at La Calahorra.
. . There is also other stylistic support for the
t. 1 ; suggestion: the doorways of La Calahorra
that offer the closest similarities with orna-
i;^.^ ^^^^ 1)N
,> ^^ ^ smental motifs found at Velez Blanco are con-
;'~: sistently not those designed by Michele
?" ~: . . . . , co_m^~7=7
pi Carlone, but rather those where both design
and execution may be attributed to Egidio
da Gandria and his people. Nor would the
C astronglyVenetian character of the ornament

hypothesis, for we know that most of the

artists who had been engaged in the work-

shops of Pietro and Tullio Lombardo and in
related building enterprises in Venice and its
surroundings,even as late as I500, came from
the Lombard villages around the Lake of
Lugano - especially Carona.
Some day, we hope, the discovery of docu-
ments concerning the castle of Velez Blanco
will confirm these suggestionsand conclusions.
In the meantime, what counts is that the Mu-
seum has been able to reconstruct an extra-
ordinary monument that represents the es-
sence of the early Renaissancein Italy equally
well as in Spain. For its historical and aes-
thetic significance transcends the boundaries
of nationalities, to remind us of the universal
character of the classicaldream that presided
over it. Certainly to Pedro Fajardo, who
once fancied himself a Roman general march-
ing in the triumphal procession of a victor-
ious emperor, the marble patio of his castle
must have seemed to recreate nothing less
than the lost beauty of the architecture of
ancient Rome. 49,50. Detail of a Renaissancewooden ceiling (above)
and a wooden door (below), formerly
at Velez Blanco
and References
I should like to express here my warmest appre-
ciationto the variousscholarswho, with unfailing
kindness, have helped me to solve many problems
that arose in the course of this study: Don Diego
Angulo Ifiiguez, Edoardo Arslan, Don Jesus Ber-
mudez y Pareja, the late Walter W. S. Cook, Don
Manuel G6mez-Moreno, Father Jose Angel Tapia,
and the late Don IeopoldoTorres Balbas. A. Hyatt
Mayor and Beatrice Gilman Proske made avail-
able to me the records concerning the sale of the
patio in the archives of The Hispanic Society of
America. The measured drawings of the castle
were prepared by the architect Francisco Prieto
Moreno and his assistant, Don Alfonso Martinez
Gasquez, and most graciously presented to the
Museum, together with most of the photographs
of the castle reproduced in this article.



J. Espin,"El Alcazarde los Velez,un Monumento

que Nos Quitan" in Boletin de la Sociedad Es-
panola de Excursiones XII (April I904) pp. IoI-
103, ill.
J. Espin, "El Alcazar de los Velez (Recuerdos)" in
Boletinde la SociedadEspanolade Excursiones
XII (June I904) pp. 134-I35, ills.
OPPOSITE: "Joyas que Se Van-Dos Cuadros del Greco: El L. Torres Balbas, "De Como Desaparecen los
51. Upper left window of the patio Castillo de los Velez" in Diario Universal de Antiguos Palacios de la Nobleza Castellana" in
Madrid (June 13, 1904). Arquitectura V (1923) p. io8, ills.
Juan Rubio de la Serna, "El Castillo del Marques E. Tormo, Levante ("Espafia, Guias Regionales
de los Velez, y los Fajardo" in Revista de la Calpe," III) (I923) pp. cxxxvii, 346.
Asociacion Artistico-Arqueol6gica Barcelonesa M. G6mez-Moreno, "Sobre el Renacimiento en
IV (I903-I905) pp. 533-556, ills. (This mentions Castilla" in Archivo Espanol de Arte y Arque-
an article by F. de Motos in La Correspondencia ologia I (I925) pp. 76-77.
de Espana of June i6, I902, but the date is pos- S. Rubinstein Bloch, Catalogue of the Collection of
sibly incorrect for, despite my efforts, I was not Georgeand Florence Blumenthal II (1926) plates
able to discover this reference.) LXIX-LXXII and text.
E. Tormo y Monz6, "El Brote del Renacimiento C. Sarthou-Carreres, "El Castillo de Velez Blanco"
en los Monumentos Espafioles y los Mendozas in Mundo Iberico, no. 9 (1927) pp. 14-I5, 25.
52. Doorwayfrom the chapel of the del Siglo XV" in Boletin de la Sociedad Espanola C. Sarthou-Carreres, "El Castillo de los Velez"
castle of La Calahorra,now in de Excursiones XXV (I917) p. 121. in La Hormiga de Oro (Barcelona), no. 11 (I930)
a private collectionin Seville. V. Lampe'rezy Romea, ArquitecturaCivil Espanola pp. 172-174, ills.
Photograph:Universityof Seville I (I922) pp. 288-29I, ills. C. Sarthou-Carreres, "Castillos de Espafia: Un
Despojo del Renacimiento" in El Imparcial
(Madrid) (July 5, 1931) ill.
Juan de Contreras, Marques de Lozoya, Historia
del Arte Hispdnico III (1940) pp. 96, 218.
F. H. Taylor, "The Blumenthal Collection" in
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin
XXXVI (October 1941) pp. I95-I98, ills.
J. Cam6n Aznar, La ArquitecturaPlateresca(1945)
pp. 3I, 124.
B. Gilman Proske, Castilian Sculpture (1951) pp.
i C. Sarthou-Carreres, Castillos de Espana (1952)
pp. 31-35, ills.
Li F. Chueca Goitia, Arquitecturadel Siglo XVI ("Ars
U Hispaniae," XI) (1953) pp. 38-40.
r J. M. de Azcarate, Monumentos Espanoles I (I953)
pp. 45-46, ill.
r F. Jimenez Placer, Historia del Arte Espanol I
?r (1955) p. 499.
J. Ortiz Echagiie, Espana: Castillos y Alcdzares
(1956) plates 5, 6, 7 and p. 9.
J. A. Tapia, Velez Blanco (I959) pp. I86-I9i, ills.
G. Marai6on, Los Tres Velez (1960) pp. 42-44, ills.
J. A. Gaya Nufio, La Arquitectura Espanola en
Sus Monumentos Desaparecidos (1961) pp. 29,


The main source of information on the life of

Pedro Fajardo are some two hundred letters ad-
dressed to him by Pietro Martire (I455-I526) be-
tween 1494 and I525. They were published for the
first time in the original Latin at Alcala de Henares
in I530 and recently translated into Spanish by
Jose L6pez de Toro in the series "Documentos
Ineditos para la Historia de Espafia," IX-XII ( 953-
I957). Other details may be found in an excellent
monograph by J. A. Tapia, Velez Blanco (I959),
based on material found in local archives and
historical sources, in a book of Gregorio Marai6on,
posthumously published, Los Tres Velez (1960),
and in J. Garcia Mercadal, Viajes de Extranjeros
por Espana y Portugal I (1952) p. 49I.
THE CHAPEL OF THE FAJARDOS ancient and Renaissancemonumentsand to fif-
AT MURCIA teenth century pattern books, see especiallypp.
See E. Tormo, "La Capilla de los Velez en la 54-56.
Catedralde Murcia"in Boletinde la RealAcad-
emia XC (1927) pp. 263-278, and L. Torres Bal-
bas, ArquitecturaG6tica ("Ars Hispaniae,"VII)
(1962) p. 301. Nearly forty years ago, Don Manuel G6mez-
Moreno, who knew the Velez Blanco carvings
THE HISTORY OF LA CALAHORRA only from photographs,offereda differentsugges-
The documentson La Calahorrawere published tion in the courseof a study of the Royal Chapel
at Granada(ArchivoEspaiol deArteyArqueologia
by K. Justi, "Anfinge der Renaissancein Gran- I
pp. 76-77), a theory that has been unani-
ada"in JahrbuchderPreussischen Kunstsammlungen [I925]
XII (i891) pp. I74-I80, and "Der Baumeister des mously accepted by all subsequentSpanish art
SchlossesLa Calahorra,"ibidem,pp. 224-226. Sub- historians,such as J. Cam6nAznar,La Arquitec-
tura Plateresca (1945) pp. 31 and I24, and F.
sequently, relevant studies upon the castle were Chueca
written by V. Lamperezy Romea,"El Castillode Goitia, Arquitecturadel SigloXVI ("Ars
La Calahorra" in Boletinde la SociedadEspaiolade Hispaniae," XI) (1953) pp. 38-40. According to
Excursiones XXII (I914) pp. 1-28; M. G6mez-
Don Manuel G6mez-Moreno, these carvings
have been the work of two Italianmarble
Moreno, "Sobre el Renacimientoen Castilla"in might carversmentionedbetween 1520 and 1522 in ac-
Archivo Espaiol de Arte I (1925) pp. 32-40; and
count books referring to the Royal Chapel as
Santiago Sebastian,"AntikisierendeMotive der maestreMartin Milanes and maestreFrancisco
Dekorationdes Schlosses La Calahorra bei Gran-
Florentin.As neitherthesedocuments,nor others
ada" in SpanischeForschungender Gorresgesell-
schaft XVI (1960) pp. 185-188.
referringto their activity in the region, connect
of Velez Blanco,
For the identificationof MicheleCarloneas the their work directly to the patio
the only evidence at hand is that offeredby their
sculptorof the Victoriaand Albert doorway,see two
R. W. Lightbown, "Three Genoese Doorways" survivingworks: the marble baptismalfont
of the Cathedralof Granada-a joint production
in The Burlington Magazine CIII (I961) p. 142,
of 1520,and the carvedparapetpanelsof the stairs
in front of the main altar in the Royal Chapel,
carved by Franciscoalone in I521. The first, it
seems to me, has only a generalaffinity of style
with the carvings of Velez Blanco. As to the
For the latest assessmentof the role playedby the second, the
panelsindeed show motifs of decora-
migratorymovement of architectsand sculptors tion closely resemblingsome on the pilastersof
coming from the regionof the lakesof Como and Velez Blanco.But the execution- very low relief,
Lugano, see the papersof the II Convegno sugli with great uncertainty of design-is quite dif-
Artisti del Lario e del Ceresio (held in I957 at ferent from the bold and
Varennaunder the auspicesof the SocietaArche- is so characteristicof the
patio's carvings. Pos-
ologica Comense), edited by E. Arslanas Archi- sibly Francisco Florentin, who for the main
tettie Scultoridel Quattrocento ("Artee Artistidei panelsof the Granadastaircasefollowed designs
Laghi Lombardi,"I) (I959). by Felipe Vigarny,wasacquaintedwith the Velez
A basic distinction between the fully Renais- Blanco ensembleand used sketchesof ornament
sance characterof the ornament carriedout by of the
patio for the side pilasters.Or, possibly,
artistscomingfrom the westernshoreof the Lake seven
yearsearlier,he had really been connected
of Luganoandchieflyactivein Venetianterritory, in some minor
capacity with the castle of Ve'lez
and the more conservativemannerof those who Blanco,and his
pilastersat Granadaare a reminis-
originatedfrom the villages on the easternshore cence of that work. However this may be, his
of the same lake, like the Rodari brothers,has work
appearsto be distinctlyderivativein quality
recently been emphasizedby E. Arslanin his re- and offers, I would say, no decisive clue to the
view of F. Frigerio,IIDuomodi Comoe il Broletto
authorshipof the Velez Blanco carvings.
(1950) in Rendiconti dell' Istituto Lombardo di On the other hand,some parallelsand analogies
Scienze e Lettere LXXXVI (1953) pp. 46-47, and between the Velez Blanco marblesand the carv-
Vicenza,I: Le Chiese("Catalogodelle Cosed'Arte
ings at La Calahorrahave been alreadypointed
e di Antichita d'Italia") (1956) pp. II-I2. out by Stella RubinsteinBloch (Catalogueof the
Collectionof Georgeand FlorenceBlumenthalII
[1926] plates LXIX-LXXII and text), as well as B.
The sketchbookwaspublishedin full by H. Egger, Gilman Proske (Castilian Sculpture[1951] pp.
Codex Escurialensis (I905-1906). For an analysis 309-3II), who suggested therefore that the two
of its ornamentsketchesand their relationshipto monumentsstemmedfrom the samesource.

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