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Core Record

Title Saint Agabus
Alternative Title Saint Peter of Alcántara
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Maino, Fray Juan Bautista (Spanish painter; 1581-1649)
Previously attributed to Rizi, Fray Juan (Spanish painter, writer, and architect, 1600-1681)
Previously attributed to Spanish School
Date Earliest possibly about 1600
Date Latest 1649
Description

Saint Agabus was a former suitor of the Virgin Mary who became a hermit and built a chapel dedicated to her on Mount Carmel. In this painting, he wears a Carmelite robe, probably because of seventeenth-century attempts to associate the Order with the prophets of Mount Carmel. The model of the church recalls the style of the royal architects Juan Gómez de Mora and Fray Alberto de la Madre de Dios, who worked mostly in Madrid, Toledo, and at El Escorial.

This picture was painted by Juan Bautista Maino, an Italian-trained painter who became artistic advisor to Philip IV.

Current Accession Number B.M.807
Subject religion (St Agabus)
Measurements 111.5 x 90.4 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Provenance Purchased by John and Joséphine Bowes from the collection of the late Conde de Quinto, 1862, cat. no. 198, as seventeenth-century Spanish school.
Principal Exhibitions Grafton Galleries, 1913 - 1914, cat. no. 173; Loan Exhibition of Pictures from the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Agnews, London, 1952, cat. no. 35; Arts Council, 1959 - 1960, cat. no. 41; Four centuries of Spanish Painting, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, 1967, cat. no. 58.
Publications Beck, E., 'Ecclesiological Notes on a Catalogue of Spanish Old Masters', Burlington Magazine, vol. 24, no. 129, 1913, pp. 170-72; Mayer, A. L., Geschichte der Spanischen Malerei, Leipzig, 1922; Tormo, E., Gusi, C., and E. Lafuente, La vida y las obras de fray Juan Ricci, Madrid, 1930; Wake, T., 'The Bowes Museum', in Blunt, A., and M. Whinney (eds.), The Nation's Pictures, London, 1950; Harris, E., 'Spanish Pictures from the Bowes Museum', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 95, no. 598, 1953, pp. 22-25; Gaya Nuño, J., La Pintura Española fuera de España, Madrid, 1958; Kubler, G., and M. Soria, Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and their American dominions, 1500 - 1800, Harmondsworth, 1959; Soria, M., 'Notes on the Spanish Paintings in the Bowes Museum', The Connoisseur, vol. 148, no. 595, 1961, pp. 30-37; Harris, E., 'Orazio Gentileschi's 'Finding of Moses' in Madrid', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 109, no. 767, 1967, pp. 86-89; Young, E., Four Centuries of Spanish Painting at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, 1967; Young, E., Catalogue of Spanish Paintings, Middlesbrough, 1988, pp. 94-97; Conran, E., and B. Crossling, European Paintings from the Bowes Museum, London, 1993, p. 15.
Notes

This painting was previously attributed to Fray Juan Rizi. It was believed to be an image of St Peter of Alcántara. (T. Wake, in correspondence with the Master of Selwyn College, 1953). It was identified as an image of St Agabus by the Carmelite Provincial, and by Jennifer Montagu, of the Warburg Institute. In correspondence (1953), the Master of Selwyn College observed that the source for the painting was probably the Libro de la Antiguedad y Sanctos de la Orden de Nuestra Señora del Carmen (1599), by Tomas de Jesús, Provincial of the Discalced Carmelites, Segovia. Enriqueta Frankfort rejected the attribution to Rizi, as did Martín Soria, who tentatively attributed it to Juan Martín Cabezalero. The current attribution to Maino was made by Diego Angulo and A. E. Pérez Sánchez, and this was accepted by Eric Young. The attribution was made by comparison of the Bowes picture with two saints of similar dimensions now in the Prado, which were probably made for inclusion in an altarpiece.

Little is known about Juan Bautista Maino, a Dominican friar born of Milanese and Portuguese parents. He lived in Toledo between 1611-12 and in Madrid from 1613. Pérez Sánchez noted the influence of Roman Caravaggism, of Adam Elsheimer and of Annibale Carracci on his work, probably owed to a trip to Rome made in about 1600. See Pérez Sánchez, A. E., 'Sobre Juan Bautista Maíno', Archivo Español de Arte, vol. 70, no. 278, 1997, pp. 113-25.

The model church recalls original designs of seventeenth-century churches in Madrid, El Escorial and Toledo, such as the Monasterio de la Encarnación, founded by Philip III in 1611. This is the area with which most of Maino's works can be associated. The same architectural type was used by the royal architects Juan Gómez de Mora and Fray Alberto de la Madre de Dios, who was a Discalced Carmelite like St Agabus in this painting. All their designs were commissioned by either the court or the nobility. The type of façade represented in this picture is closer to the style of Fray Alberto, whose churches often have a single portal framed by pilasters. The bell tower was a feature of parish churches, but not convents - a fact which helped identify the model church as San Bernabé in El Escorial. See Bustamante García, A., 'Los artífices del Real Convento de la Encarnación de Madrid', Boletín del Seminario de Estudios de Arte y Arqueología, vols. 40-41, 1975, pp. 376-78.

On St Agabus as a Carmelite friar and the Carmelite controversy, see Edmond, C., L'Iconographie Carmélitaine dans les Anciens Pays-Bas Méridionaux, Brussels, 1961, p. 98. The author refers to prints after Diepenbeke and Lommelin, from the Decor Carmeli, where the saint wears a seventeenth-century Carmelite habit.

Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Mercedes Cerón
 

 

 

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