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Lot 118 - Attributed to Pedro Laboria (Sanlúcar de Barrameda, circa 1700 - 1770)

Estimation : 40 000 € / 50 000 €

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Attributed to Pedro Laboria (Sanlúcar de Barrameda, circa 1700 - 1770)


"Saint Francis Borja as Duke of Gandía"


Large carved, gilded and polychromed wooden sculpture. Mid 18th century. 171 x 100 x 70 cm.


Magnificent portrait of Francis Borja, depicted as the Duke of Gandia, before giving up his life at court to join the Society of Jesus.He is styled as a nobleman, wearing a ruff and an imposing and luxurious silvered breast plate with estofado decoration in gold, decorated in the lower part with two medallions in which two profiles appear, one feminine and the other masculine, crowned with a laurel wreath. A short tunic sticks out from under the breast plate. He wears hose on his legs and high boots.Above a large gilded cloak covers his shoulders and drops to the floor, while at the front it reaches to his forearms, opening at the chest as there is only one button at the neck. This cloak is an indispensable element in the balance of this sculpture, and displays the command of a great Master sculptor. The effect of rich and thick material that the cape is made of is achieved through the folds, which form as they fall and create a realistic and highly dignified impression of the subject. There is magnificent modelling of the Duke’s face, which is recognisable and captures his expression, the delicate and elegant pose of the hands, which are marvellously carved, and his feet, in one of Pedro Laboria’s characteristic gestures, he moves a foot forward, keeping the other one behind, like an elegant ballet step. These are elements that lead us to attribute the authorship of this carving to such a great sculptor. Son of Juan de Borja y Enríquez de Luna, 3rd Duke of Gandía, and Juana de Aragón y Gurrea, the Borja were one of the most important families in Valencia. Francis Borja was the 3rd Superior General of the Society of Jesus, fourth Duke of Gandía, and Marquis of Lombay, Grandee of Spain and Viceroy of Catalonia. In 1554 he became the Jesuit commissary-general in Spain, and in 1565, on the death of Father Laínez, Superior General of the entire order, he was elected to take over the role. He dedicated himself to preaching and obeyed Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, who later named him Commissioner of Spain in the Indies.Pedro Laboria probably trained in a workshop in Seville, and arrived in South America in 1738, settling in Santa Fe de Bogotá, where he contributed to increasing the influence of Andalusian sculpture in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, becoming one of the principal sculptors of the Colonial period. The fact that there was a strong relationship between the sculptor and the Jesuits serves to consolidate our opinion that Laboria carved this sculpture. It was through the Jesuits Thanks to the artworks that he made for the Society of Jesus, which at the time renovated the Temple of Saint Ignatius, Laboria became one of the greatest exponents of the sculpture of New Granada. One of his greatest works, for the same temple, is the ecstasy of Saint Ignatius, dated 1749. The depiction of Jesuit saints was a constant in his artistic life. He carved a Saint Francis Borja, a moribund saint Francis Xavier and two sculptures of Saint Ignatius of Loyola for the Temple of Saint Ignatius. Paintings of the different moments of Sant Francis’ life as Duke of Borgia are kept at the Borjas’ Ducal Palace in Gandia, where he is depicted as a nobleman, in a very similar style to this sculpture.



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