Francisco Salzillo

Francisco Salzillo

Francisco Salzillo y Alcaraz (21 May 1707 - 2 March 1783) was a Spanish sculptor. He is the most representative Spanish image-maker of the 18th century and one of greatest of the Baroque. Francisco Salzillo worked exclusively the religious thematic, and almost always in polychromatic wood. He made hundreds of pieces that are fundamentally distributed by all the Region of Murcia and some bordering provinces. Unfortunately, the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) saw the destruction of many of the works of Salzillo. His great production has outstanding landmarks, between which there would be to emphasize: his nonprocessional religious work, his processional work, and his great Nativity scene.

He was born in Murcia. At the age of twenty he completed the statue of St Ines of Montepulciano, which had been begun for the Dominicans at Murcia by his father. On the death of the latter the care of the family fell upon Francisco, who with the help of his brothers and sisters organized a workshop. In 1765 he also founded a small academy, which, however, was speedily dissolved owing to disunion among the members. In the Ermita de Jesús in Murcia may be seen Salzillo's scenes from the "Passion of Our Lord", a vast work in which all the sculptor's qualities and defects are revealed. In the church of St Miguel are an "Immaculate Conception" and a "St Francis". Mention should also be made of the "Christ at the Well" in the church of Santa María de las Gracia in Murcia, and of the sculptures in San Pedro and in the Capucine monastery in Murcia. Salzillo worked in wood, which was colored. The ascription of the stone sculptures on the fagade of the St Nicolas Church in Murcia to him rests on conjecture. He died in Murcia.

Main works

Unlike the great authors of the 18th century, like Montañés or Gregorio Fernández, Francisco Salzillo does not deepen in the dramatic aspects of the scenes, but goes deeper in naturalistic concepts of idealized beauty that are already transition from the end of the Baroque into the Rococó and the Neoclasicism. Salzillo founded the so-called Murcian School of Sculpture that extended beyond its time and that has remained effective to the present time, because both his first followers and those who have followed to date have perpetuated the iconographic and stylistic models and types of Francisco Salzillo. There is a Museum in Murcia dedicated to Salzillo. His main works are:

*"La Cena" (The Supper): it was created in 1763 and it is composed by thirteen figures seated around a table.
*"La Oración del Huerto" (The Oration in the Orchard): created in 1754, in it can be seen, on the one hand, an angel showing the chalice to Jesus, and on the other hand, the scene of the three sleeping apostles under the palm.
*"El Prendimiento" or "El Beso de Judas" (The Arrest or The Kiss of Judas): created in 1754, it contrasts the faces of Jesus and Judas, the beauty and kindness as opposed to the uglyness and badness.
*"Jesús en la Columna" or "Los Azotes" (Jesus in the Column or The Whips): created in 1777, it shows the face of Jesus with serenity and resignation facing the whips that he receives.
*"Santa Mujer Verónica" (Saint Woman Veronica): created in 1755, it shows the Verónica with characteristics of pain, taking between his hands the cloth with the imprinted face of Jesus.
*"La Caída" (The Fall): created in 1752.
*"San Juan" (Saint John): created in 1756.
*"La Dolorosa" (The Painful): created in 1756.
*"El Belén" (The Nativity Scene): created between 1780 and 1800, it was begun by Salzillo and extended by his disciple Roque López. It is a set of 556 mud figures of about 30 cm. of height.
*Numerous sketches modeled in mud.

External links

* [ Salzillo's 3rd Centenary]
* [ Salzillo Museum in Murcia]


*B. Haendcke, "Studien zur Geschichte der spanischen Plastik" (Strassburg, 1900).

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