The San Francisco de Asís restoration in Villacastín shows the sculptor’s signature and the date he created the piece
Under the left foot of the sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi kept in the Church of San Sebastián, a parish in the Segovian municipality of Villacastín, Francisco Salzillo signed his work. A detail that has been hidden behind a thick layer of dust over the years. A recent restoration has now revealed his authorship and the date he created the piece, in 1763.
“We knew it was pretty good, but we didn’t think it would have this caliber,” assured restorer Clara Delgado during the works’ presentation, according to a note released by the Diocese of Segovia. This professional from Madrid started the restoration of the statue at the end of 2021, commissioned by the pastor of Villacastín, Juan García Gorgojo.
However, this discovery only proves what was already known. «The signature confirms it, but we were very clear that this carving came from Salzillo, because it is the same as others that are still preserved, such as Saint Francis of Assisi from the Monastery of San Juan de la Penitencia, in Orihuela (Alicante ), or in the Church of the Capuchins in Murcia”, assures the director of the Salzillo Museum, María Teresa Marín, about a work “already studied by José Miguel Sánchez Peña” who collected her evidence in the article “New contributions to the work van Salzillo’, published in 1986 in the magazine ‘Imafronte’ of the UMU. The restorer and sculptor “wasn’t sure of the date and dated it between 1754 and 1758, approximately.” This is an “important” discovery that “fills us with satisfaction,” says the museum director. «The fact that they speak of Salzillo in other parts of Spain and call him the best sculptor of the Spanish Baroque is always a source of pride for Murcia».
The restorer Clara Delgado explained that the company has followed a chromatic restoration process because “it cannot be reproduced” that of the sculptor. He also highlighted three curiosities of the carving: the glass eyes “as if they were a light bulb”; the rock garden, made of roñas –pine bark– glued, covered and polychromed; and the girdle of the saint “embedded with a nail” that cannot be removed. “Everything is made in one piece”, details showing that it is a Salzillo, “a jewel” for the parish, the city and the province for its size.
Source: La Verdad