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Pax-board of the Marquis de Comares

by Rodrigo de León

Documentary sources allow us to know that the iconographic scenes featured on the main fronts of the pieces were established from the outset. Thus, on one of the pax-boards we see the Assumption of the Virgin, and on the other is the scene of the Incredulity of Saint Thomas.

These pax-boards are structured like small altarpieces, on which elements such as the bases, adorned in enamels and precious stones, and the columns that flank the semi-circular arches and house the main themes can be made out. Moreover, as if it were a top, there are tympanum decorated with enamels and the allegorical representations of the virtues, presided over by the figure of Charity.

The composition and style of these pax-boards are much closer to the Mannerism models than the Renaissance ones. Specifically they take from the architectural language of Palladio, disseminated through images and etchings that would arrive from the hands of the silversmith Rodrigo de León. However, other theories point to the inspiration being from designs based on the work of Vignola or serliano designs.

Rodrigo de León

Silversmith active in Cordoba during the second half of the 16th century. His work was in the areas of sacred and profane silverware. Sources do not provide much information about his life or time as an apprentice, although we do know that he worked as master silversmith of Cordoba Cathedral between 1581 and 1609, the first to hold this position

Technical sheet
  • Title: Pax-board of the Marquis de Comares 
  • Author: Rodrigo de León 
  • Date: 1578-1581
  • Material and technique: Gold and gilded silver, cast and chiselled, with applications of enamel and precious stones
  • Dimensions: Assumption (26.5 x 16 x 8 cm) and Saint Thomas (26.5 x 17 x 8 cm)
  • Location: Cathedral Treasury (north wall)
Key features of the work
  • A pax-board had a certain function in Catholic liturgical ceremony. Thus, during the celebration of the Eucharist the priest urged the faithful to find peace, for which they kissed this object. There are generally two pax-boards which make a pair, given that one would be used by men and the other by women

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