Roldán, Luisa (1656–1704)

views updated

Roldán, Luisa (1656–1704)

Spanish sculptor of the 17th century. Name variations: Luisa Roldan; La Roldana; Luisa de los Arcos. Born Luisa Ignacia Roldán in Sevilla, Spain, in 1656; died in Madrid in 1704; daughter of Pedro Roldán (a sculptor) and Teresa de Mena y Villavicencio; sister of Maria Roldán , who also helped their father produce sculpture; married Luis de los Arcos (a sculptor), in 1671; children: two.

A native of Sevilla, Spain, Luisa Roldán was born in 1656, the daughter of Pedro Roldán, a sculptor of some renown, and Teresa de Mena y Villavicencio . Luisa was piously educated by her mother. Roldán, who had learned her father's craft, married another sculptor, Luis de los Arcos, in 1671, and they sculpted together in their own studio. One of their most important commissions involved works for the cathedral in Cádiz. Roldán's skill surpassed that of her father, as indicated by an oft-repeated anecdote. He was commissioned to produce a statue of St. Ferdinand for the cathedral in Sevilla, but it failed to please the patrons. She made some modifications in her father's work, to the delight of the cathedral chapter, which thought it was an entirely new statue.

As Luisa Roldán's fame spread, she attracted the attention of Cristóbal Ontañón. In 1692, Ontañón brought Luisa and her husband to Madrid and presented them at the court of Charles II, king of Spain. A commission for a statue of St. Michael for the monastery at El Escorial soon followed. Impressed by her works, the crown appointed her sculptor to the court on June 21, 1695, with an annual stipend of 100 ducats, retroactive to her arrival in Madrid. Roldán produced a number of religious pieces and achieved particular renown for small polychrome clay (terra-cotta) grouped figures for Nativity scenes, a technique virtually unknown before this time. Her most important pieces include The Death of Saint Mary Magdalene , The Annunciation, and The Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine. Roldán died in Madrid in 1704.


García Olloqui, María Victoria. "La Roldana": escultora de cámara. Sevilla: Diputación Provincial de Sevilla, 1977.

Kendall W. Brown , Professor of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

More From