Alonso Berruguete

Smore by Kara Christensen

Birth, life, and art

Alonso Berruguete was born in 1487 in Paredes de Nava (Palencia), Spain. Berruguete was most likely trained in his father's art studio as a painter. The majority of Berruguete's life was spent in Spain but he traveled to Italy for a decade in 1507. While he was previously in Spain, he had several elite patrons associated with the royal court, but once he returned he had trouble finding people willing to pay patronage. The once regarded "painter to the kings" realized that people in Spain wanted art in the forms of sculpture and architecture, and he worked with several artists in their works.

Art Style

Berruguete started with painting, but eventually branched out to sculpture and architecture. Berruguete's art was about instability and he would often make something astray in his artwork, such as hairs in a beard being untamed. Berruguete experimented with unconventional sculpture methods including using irregular slabs of walnut. Some of Berruguete's works are Madonna and Child, Job (?), and Saint Mark. Some of the "isms" that I believed could be associated with Berruguete would be humanism and secularism. Humanism focuses on the human individuality and relationships between people. Berruguete has several sketches depicting and celebrating human form, tying into the individuality of humans in humanism. Secularism can focus on myths and pagan religious stories as a focus for the art. Berruguete sketched several mythical creatures including serpents (seen in "Serpents and Grotesques" and "Grotesque Serpent").
Big image

Madonna and Child

The piece above that I will (attempt) to analyze is "Madonna and Child". Berruguete painted this using oil on panel during his time in Italy from 1508-1516. It is currently displayed in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The piece is important because it showed Berruguete's unusual paintings and darker undertones. If I were to describe the painting, I would say it was a dark painting. Madonna looks to be calmly protecting the child in her arms (believed to be a depiction of St. John). The area behind them is calm, but the way that she is holding him depicts danger.The other child behind her also appears to be seeking comfort. The woman is also standing behind a box or crate, and is looking towards the other side of the area. I may be on the complete wrong track, but I think the painting is about protecting the innocent. Although this painting does show perspectivism (the sky in the background), I think that it shown humanism more. Humanism focuses on the human individuality and relationships between people. In this painting, Madonna is looking at the child, while he is looking away. The child behind her, however is looking at her. This could relate to a larger picture of the child looking for attention being unacknowledged, while the child receiving attention doesn't need it. The relationships between the three people relates to humanism and relationships within humanism. I found this painting interesting because the children look creepy. Between the demon-like children and the black cloth band around Madonna's arm, it looked odd and intrigued me.


"Alonso (González) Berruguete." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. Gale, 1990. Biography in Context. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Drawing.” British Museum, 1929.

“Job (?)</em>, 1526/32</em>.” n.d.

“Madonna and child with the Young St john by BERRUGUETE, Alonso.” n.d.

“Saint mark.” n.d.

“Search Results: Alonso Berruguete.” Artstor. n.d.