Alonso Berruguete

Alonso Berruguete has gone down in history as one of the most brilliant artists of the Renaissance. The son of Pedro Berruguete, it seems that he was born in Paredes de Nava around 1488.

The death of his father prompted him to follow in his father's footsteps, beginning a training that even took him to Italy. In Rome and Florence he was able to contemplate the outstanding works of classical antiquity and the great artists of the time such as Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Raphael and, above all, Michelangelo.

On his return to Spain he was appointed royal painter by Emperor Charles V and was commissioned to paint the tomb of Chancellor Selvaggio in Zaragoza, his first documented work.

In 1523 he obtained the office of notary public in the Royal Chancery of Valladolid. It was then that he settled in Valladolid and opened his workshop. His first major contract that same year, together with the sculptor Vasco de la Zarza, was for the high altar of the Hieronymite convent in La Mejorada de Olmedo. A few years later he was commissioned to build the main altarpiece for the church of San Benito el Real in Valladolid, where his greatest achievements were obtained. His last major works in Toledo were the stalls in the cathedral and the tomb of Cardinal Tavera in the church of the Hospital of the same name.

Alonso Berruguete died in Toledo in 1561 and, although he hardly worked for his native town, his mark can be seen in the magnificent Calvary that crowns the main altarpiece of this church and in the beautiful image of the Virgin and Child that is unanimously attributed to him by critics.

His work exerted a great influence on his contemporaries and in his workshop he had some outstanding disciples such as Francisco Giralte, whose hand is on the main altarpiece in the church of San Pedro de Cisneros, now in the Territorial Museum of Campos del Renacimiento.