Saint Paul

Oil on panel
End of the 15th century
44 X 31 cm
Private collection, Madrid

Fernando Gallego was a Spanish painter, who represented the Hispano-Flemish style in Castile. He is one of the most outstanding and renowned Castilian artists in the last third of the 15th century and in the first years of the 16th century. His production is characterised by a hard style, of great strength and realism, typical from the Castilian side to which he appoints himself. He was the author of one of the first pagan compositions of the Spanish Gothic, he was one of the few who executed large-format murals, as well as huge altarpieces. Among his attributed paintings there are large altarpieces made with the participation of the workshop and its collaborators. These include the altarpiece of the cathedral of Ciudad Rodrigo (1480-1488) and the church of Santa María de Trujillo (1490), where he worked with Bartolomeus.

The analysed panel represents Saint Paul. It was initially lost but when we found it we discovered it belongs to the bench of the altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo at the Tucson Museum of Art in Arizona. It clearly includes Flemish elements, such the scene’s symbolism or naturalism, associated with a Castilian tradition that strips painting of any superfluous sentimental concession.