José Nicolás De la Escalera
1734 - 1804
oil on canvas
20 1/2 x 16 1/8 inches
The scarcity of accessible biographical materials regarding this artist does not preclude us from situating Escalera’s artistic production between 1734 and 1804. The artist’s work is developed under the sway of Andalusian painting of the 17th century, with saints and virgins often dressed in the traditional colors of the Sevillian School. An autodidact, Escalera was considered an artisan and specialized in adorning the roofs and walls of chapels and temples with the pictorial narrative of religious passages. The painter was noted for rendering oils, especially those that adorned the cupola of the church of Santa María del Rosario, erected by the Counts of Bayona from 1760 - 1766. There are also indications of Escalera’s repute as a portraitist. The eminent historian Carlos Manuel Trelles y Govín cited a letter, dated 1763, from Escalera to King Charles III, where the artist offered a portrait of Navy Captain D.V. Velasco. Important works by the artist include: La Santísima Trinidad (The Holy Trinity) and San José y el Niño (Saint Joseph and the Child), both included in the collection of the Cuban National Museum in Havana.
Lerner, Bernardo, ed. Enciclopedia Del Arte En America. 1st ed. Argentina: Bibliografica Omeba, 1968.
Lopez Nuñez, Olga. Arte Colonial: Biografías in Cobas Amate, R. et al (Eds.) Guia Arte Cubano. Seville, Spain: Escandón Impresores, 2003.