Arts & Crafts - Artistic treasures in Jaén

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El Salvador church, exterior
El Salvador church, exterior

The city's Archaeological Museum contains two pieces which are of very special interest. The "anthropomorphic idol of Marroquíes Alto", dating back to the year 1800 B.C., is a stylised statue in marble with geometrical features. This extraordinary carving belongs to the period of transition between the schematic and abstract style to the representation of the natural body, and therefore is a pioneer in the concept of giving the human body its full, rounded shape in sculpture. The discovery of the Iberian statues of Porcuna, from the 5th century B.C., contributed greatly to the current prestige of Iberian art and culture. They were intentionally destroyed in around 400 B.C. and the fragments were buried in a deep trench.

Two masterpieces housed in the Cathedral are the Altarpiece of San Pedro de Osma, by Pedro Machuca, built in 1546, with its many beautiful panels, carved and painted in the purest Italian Renaissance style, and the Immaculate Virgin Triumphing over Original Sin, by the 18th century artist Sebastián Martínez, a semi-circular painting with interesting and unusual motifs, baroque in style but also displaying Venetian and Flemish influences.

In the town of Baeza, the Church of San Andrés has a fine altarpiece entitled "The Life of Christ", built at the end of the 15th century), which is a good example of painting on wood in the Gothic style known as Hispanic-Flemish. And the town of Quesada is home to the Zabaleta Museum, which possesses works of the various periods of this painter, who lived between 1907 and 1960, notably a series of landscapes and farm scenes in a post-Cubist style, as well as the series of surrealist drawings known as The Dreams of Quesada, created for the Venice Biennal.

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