Project for Holy Week Monument - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Project for Holy Week Monument

Guinea, Anselmo

Bilbao, 1855/04/01-Bilbao, 1906/06/10

Ink for nibs

43,5 x 26,2 cm

c. 1884

19th century. Last quarter


Donated by Michel Mejuto Alonso, 2007

It is difficult to discern the real purpose of this drawing, even though its elements and composition lead us to interpret it as a design for an Easter Week monument. In the nineteenth century, several artists in the Basque country designed this type of scenographic structure to be installed in churches on Holy Thursday. Mainly painters were involved in composing them, although sometimes they partnered with architects or sculptors to create more complex works. Some of the designers of these monuments in the second half of the century included Anselmo Guinea, along with Eugenio Azcue, Pablo Landesa, Ignacio Díaz Olano and Blas Lumbreras.

It happened that during Guinea's stay in Bilbao in the summer of 1884, he was given the commission of painting a monument for the Barakaldo parish, which he finished before going back to Rome in the autumn. The commission was part of a series of improvements being made to the church since late in the previous decade, which Guinea had contributed to back in 1881 with a painting of Saint Vincent Martyr to be installed in the flamboyant main altarpiece, a work by Vicente Larrea.

Because the work no longer exists and there is no detailed description of it which would give us a sense of its appearance, we cannot assert that this is its design. Still, the scenographic sense that Guinea imbues in the work and its iconography fit in perfectly with the purpose of the monuments that were used as the altar and housed the sacred hosts during Easter Week. In Guinea's proposal, two soldiers and two apostles flank the entrance to the stands crowned by a small temple that holds the host, with several angels are kneeling before it. (Mikel Lertxundi)

Selected bibliography

  • Dibujos, grabados y acuarelas [del] siglo XIX : de Goya a Benlliure : colección Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2007. pp. 180-183, n° cat. 251.