ZARZA, Vasco de la
(d. 1524, Avila)


Spanish sculptor and architect. He may have trained in Italy, whence he introduced Italian Renaissance forms to New Castile, particularly in Ávila. In 1499 he established himself at Ávila as a carver in alabaster. He was also active as an architect, and in 1508 he was involved with the reconstruction of the cloisters in Ávila Cathedral. He carved the wall tomb (c. 1515) of Archbishop Alonso Carrillo de Albornoz in the chapel of S Ildefonso, Toledo Cathedral, a work with a strong Italianate influence perhaps partly due to the presence of Domenico Fancelli in Ávila. The monument is in the form of a triumphal arch, but all surfaces are carved with a profusion of decorative motifs reminiscent of the Lombard school. In 1518 de la Zarza completed the monument to Bishop Alonso de Madrigal, known as El Tostado, in the trasaltar mayor (the area behind the altar) of Ávila Cathedral.

In 1523 de la Zarza was advising on the building of Salamanca Cathedral. At the time of his death he was said to be working with Alonso Berruguete on the retable of La Mejorada in Olmedo. He had also begun carving the altars of the transepts in Ávila Cathedral, which his collaborators completed.