Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art

Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist

Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1692
Luisa Ignacia Roldán
Terra cotta with polychromy
Gift of Mrs. George C. Stacy in memory of William and Elizabeth Kehl, 1978-05

Luisa Roldán was the first woman sculptor recorded in Spain. In 1692 Charles II appointed her court sculptor, and she appropriately often signed her works, "escultora de camera," or sculptor to the court. Her royal appointment was particularly important for her career, as she may have been excluded from the official sculptors' guild on account of her gender. Roldán's father and husband were also artists, and she collaborated with them on occasion.

Roldán has fashioned the Virgin as a young and beautiful mother whose appealing features and maternal manner evoke a natural empathy from the viewer. The playfulness between the Christ Child and his cousin, the young St. John the Baptist, contributes to the keen sense of naturalism of the sculpture. Yet, for all the naturalistic and human qualities Roldán has invoked, rainbow-winged putti cushion the Virgin and Child, announcing the heavenly and holy status of this group.