Great Retable of the Monastery of la Mejorada in Olmedo

Alonso Berruguete1523 - 1526

Museo Nacional de Escultura

Museo Nacional de Escultura
Valladolid, Spain

This altarpiece was made originally to be placed in the main chapel of the Hieronymite monastery of Mejorada de Olmedo. The promoter of this altarpiece, Francisca de Zuniga, widow of Alvaro de Daza, orders it in 1523 to the sculptors Vasco de la Zarza and Alonso Berruguete. The first one was a consecrated artist who introduced the Renaissance language in Avila; the second one, a young artist, just arrived from Italy, where he had learn the language of the great masters. A year after signing the contract, Vasco de la Zarza dies, to whom we attribute the architectural design of the structure and one of the reliefs, the Epiphany, similar to some examples of his production. The other reliefs and figures are Berruguete's work, and they express the main features of his production: his power of expression, the length of the figures, the unbalances postures, great dynamism and original compositions. The outcome of this collaboration is an altarpiece with total Renaissance structure that has three bodies over base and bench and if full of secular ornaments: gryphons, shields, medallions; it has eight reliefs that tell events of the life of the Virgin and Christ. In the bench there is a group of small round figures and two embossed medallions of Saint Jerome and Saint Catherine. The central corridor, today empty, was occupied by sculptures, one of the Virgin and another of Saint Jerome, to end up being modified in the 18th century with a gigantic tabernacle that changed its original appearance


  • Title: Great Retable of the Monastery of la Mejorada in Olmedo
  • Creator Lifespan: 1489 - 1561
  • Creator Nationality: Spanish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Toledo
  • Creator Birth Place: Paredes de Nava
  • Date Created: 1523 - 1526
  • place of origin: Olmedo, Valladolid
  • Esculptor: Alonso Berruguete
  • Type: Esculpture
  • External Link: CERES

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