CAMPAÑA, Pedro de
(b. 1503, Bruxelles, d. 1580, Bruxelles)

Altarpiece of the Purification

Oil on panel
Cathedral, Seville

During the 1550s Campaña executed his two major surviving commissions, the altarpiece of the Purification (1555) in the Cathedral and the imposing retable for the parish church of Santa Ana (begun in 1557), both in Seville. The altarpiece of the Purification, consisting of ten panels, adorns the funerary chapel of Diego Caballero, a veteran of the conquest of Peru, who had served in the colonial administration on Hispaniola. The donor and members of his family are represented in two of the predella panels, which are fine examples of Flemish portraiture and constitute an unusual record of the middle class of Spanish society.

The Purification of the Virgin, the centrepiece of the retable, is a work of considerable sophistication. The basic composition is based on a print by Dürer, which has been reframed in a carefully rendered classical structure. Surrounding the central scene are personifications that embody the virtues of the Virgin Mary - Charity, Justice, Fortitude, Faith and Hope among them.

This work evinces a somewhat better grasp of current Italian art, than the Descent from the Cross, which was done some eight years earlier. Campaña seems to have become a more Italianate painter although there is no record that he went to Italy after settling in Seville.