Artist: Josep Maria Subirachs

Title: «Renaissance»

Año: 1976

Media: travertine marble and paint on wood

Edition: unique piece

Size: 39 x 91 x 12 cm


Subirachs is a very meticulous artist with the materials he uses in each of his creations. Another very common facet of this artist is the use of various materials in the same work.

On this occasion, for this work, he has chosen travertine marble and wood. Two of the most used materials in the Renaissance period. On the left side, we find the travertine marble and on the right side the polychrome wood. Subirachs called this type of work that mixes sculpture with painting picto-sculptures.

Another of the characteristics of a good part of Subirachs’ sculptures is the use of negative-positive. In the stony part (left) of the sculpture we find 3 negative motifs that cause an optical effect of deception to the human eye, appearing to be positive. This deception is very common in Subirachs.

If we read the picto-sculpture from left to right, we first find what could be a crescent moon. This moon represents light, growth and regeneration, which are concepts associated with the Renaissance, which was a stage of mental openness, renewal of old ideas to give way to a new way of understanding life and, of course, the Art. The Renaissance period is also characterized by breaking the medieval theocentric traditions -in which everything revolved around the figure of God- and fully exalting the qualities of human nature, trying to discover man and give a rational meaning to life. taking as teachers the Greek and Latin classics, whose works were rediscovered and studied. This new way of understanding life, placing the figure of man at the center of all facets of society (anthropocentrism), was called Humanism. This change in mentality gave way to the so-called Modern Age.

In Subirachs’ Renaissance work, the crescent moon as it rises becomes a negative half of a human face, to end up revealing the entire face, symbolizing the rise of humanism in that luminous period of history, science and art.

All this upward progression is underlined by an ascending line that unites the three states of ascension. If we follow that line, we arrive at the right part of the sculpture, the painted wooden part. In it we see the representation of one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance Cinquecento, despite its austerity and modest size. It is the Temple of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome. The work of the architect Bramante, it was erected around 1502-1510 in one of the courtyards of the Franciscan convent of San Pedro in Rome, currently the Academy of Spain in Rome.

The commission for the construction was carried out by the Catholic Monarchs in the same place where, according to tradition, Saint Peter suffered martyrdom. This work is considered the manifesto of Renaissance classicism architecture, given its purity of lines and decorative austerity.

The temple was made of granite, marble and travertine. Hence Subirachs chose travertine for this sculpture. The architect who carried out the planning and construction of the temple was Bramante.
Bramante was an Italian architect and painter who introduced the style of the Quattrocento (first Renaissance) in Milan and the Cinquecento (second Renaissance) in Rome.

In addition to the temple, one of Bramante’s most important achievements was the design of the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican. We could say that Bramante put his knowledge into practice in the construction of the dome of the temple to later be able to project the great dome of the Vatican with solvency.

In the work Renaissance, Subirachs pays his particular homage to the great genius of architecture that was Bramante. In fact, Subirachs, in many of his works, pays tribute to the great masters and geniuses of history.