MEDIEVAL SCULPTOR, Spanish
(active late 13th century)
Tomb of Bishop Martín II Rodriguez1290s
Among the innovations arriving from the north was the introduction in Castile-León of the 'enfeu' tomb monument. Early example of such tombs, set in a wall niches, is the tomb of Bishop Martín II Rodriguez (died 1242) in the north transept of León Cathedral. In the French manner, the tomb chest on which the recumbent effigy lies is set into the wall and has above it a portal-like, arch-shaped architectural structure with reliefs showing angels and the soul borne upward. The program of images, however, is without precedent. The rear wall of the recess shows the performance of the office of the dead with expressively grieving mourners, while on the front of the tomb chest the virtue of charity is depicted, with equal realism, in the form of an alms-giving scene.
Repeatedly copied, right into the 14th century, this type of monument became the preferred form of tomb for cathedral clergy.