UNKNOWN MASTER, Spanish
(active in 1498-1504 in Toledo)
Polychrome larch wood
One of the loftiest expressions of Spanish art is to be found in monumental altarpieces. That in the Toledo Cathedral was begun in 1498 from a design by Peti Juan; the Netherlanders Diego Copin de Holanda and Cristiano de Holanda, the Frenchman Bigarny de Borgona, and the Spaniard Sebastian de Almonacid worked there from 1502 to 1504; Copin completed the corners. Flemish, German and French schools are combined into a surprising Spanish mixture. This enormous polychrome and gold screen, with its proliferation of forms over which the gaze of the worshipper may wander endlessly, belongs to the very end of the Gothic tradition.
In the lowest level of the central section is a 14th century statue of St Mary, covered in silver plate, which came from the earlier retable. Above this is the enormous monstrance which inspired Enrique de Arfe. The retable continues upward with representations of the Nativity and Assumption and is crowned by a Calvary scene.