(b. 1488, Paredes de Nava, d. 1561, Valladolid)

The Sacrifice of Isaac

Polychrome wood
National Museum of Religious Carvings, Valladolid

The statue belongs to the San Benito altarpiece.

In the group of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, Berruguete's pictorial style is again visible. What traces of Italian influence remain are overlaid by a genuinely Spanish dramatic passionate feeling. Everything, including formal values, is subordinated to expressiveness. However, with Berruguete's chisel still had this element of Gothic sensitivity about it, the same was not true of his brush. He painted his sculptures with great care, and the polychromy is no longer simply a coloring, but is incorporated into the modelling and composition. It suggests a third dimension, corrects error of carving, emphasizes the hollows and projections and accentuates the dramatic tension of the sacrificial scene.