Spanish Splendor

An extraordinary altarpiece and several stone funerary monuments within the fifteenth-century monastery church of Santa María de Miraflores in Burgos have just been unveiled following a two-year WMF-sponsored restoration. Located in northwestern Spain, the Cartuja (or Carthusian monastery) de Santa María de Miraflores was designed by Hans and Simon of Cologne and completed in 1482. The complex was built atop the remains of an early fifteenth-century hunting lodge that was given to the Carthusian Order by King John II in 1442 and which was subsequently gutted by fire. Within the monastery church is one of the most important ensembles of late Gothic art and architecture to survive in Spain—two intricately carved stone sepulchers and a massive gilt and polychrome wooden altar—all the work of “wandering Jewish” artist Gil de Siloé, executed between 1493 and 1499. The principal tomb is that of King John II and his second wife Isabel. The second belongs to their son, the Infante Alfonso, who died at the age of 14, having been poisoned in the wars of succession. His death paved the way for his sister Isabella—principal patron of Christopher Columbus’ New World voyages—to ascend to the throne. Her marriage to Ferdinand in 1469 joined the royal houses of Castille and Aragon, leading to the creation of modern Spain

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