Altarpiece Enviny







Church of Mare de Déu de la Purificació.
Enviny, Lleida.
Pere Espalargues Gothic altarpiece.
Size: 3 x 5 meters.
Commissioned by Pallars Sobirà County Council.
Originals preserved in the Hispanic Society of New York and Philadelphia Museum of Art.


The Gothic Altarpiece Enviny, from Pere Espalargues, propriety the apse of the church of the Purification of Enviny until 1909, this year was sold to an antique dealer.
Currently, this valuable work is distributed in two U.S. museums. The main body is preserved since 1913 in the Hispanic Society of America in New York and the predelle and side doors at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.Has been thanks to the tenacity of Agustí Lopez, mayor of Sort, and the pastor of Enviny, Joan Escales, that the altarpiece image is possible to see again in the temple.

As is possible to see at the black and white photography taken in early twentieth-century kindly donated by the Amatller Institut of Hispanic Art the altarpiece remains incomplete. The size of the virgin who was in the middle of the main body, is missed. The same thing has happened to the front of the altar and the table "Ecce homo" guarding the shrine. The marquetry decorated the entire predella and doors have also disappeared, though possibly its condition made it impossible to retrieve.

Photo courtesy of the Institut Amatller d´Art Hispanic.

The photograph was also used as a reference to re-create all the constructive and ornamental missed elements. To produce this task, the image is resized and traced to obtain the actual size of the columns, borders, laces and other decorative elements of marquetry.

The forms were carved and modeled. The molds were repeated for several motifs.

Drafts details

Modeling ornament

Silicone mold

We built a metal structure to placement all the elements of the altarpiece: tables, overall, the niche, moldings, etc…

The boards were prepared with a primer similar to the original. And some gaps, cracks, carvings and other textures of the work were recreated.

Sample letter standardized with color patches
Photo chromatic correction

Aurora modeling elements from
the marquetry

Some areas of this painstaking work were reserved for the golden colour, where Papelgel transfer was applied. The technique allows metallic paint applied on the background of the images. This way, the golden funds are fully integrated in the paint, providing a compelling look at the color, where gold glazes breathe, the areas where appears the preparation bowl, etc.

Finally adequately protected and nuanced set of the altarpiece.





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