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Edward Cooper
Corn Lore at Cogolludo

Chapter in book

editors: A Deyermond, B Taylor
From the Cancionero da Vaticano to the Cancionero General: Studies in Honour of Jane Whetnall

University of London
ISBN: 0 902238 50 7

pp. 127-142

This article, with 11 original illustrations, focusses on the relationship between a group of well-known late Gothic/early Renaissance buildings in the vicinity of Madrid, erected by the maritally related de la Cerda duke of Medinaceli and the Mendoza dukes of el Infantado, and challenges the standard attribution of one of them, the palace of the first duke of Medinaceli at Cogolludo (Guadalajara) to the in-house Mendoza architect Lorenzo Vázquez, through its lack of resemblance to known Vázquez buildings elsewhere, and the standard misinterpretation of such documentary reference as exists.

The design is what would result from an attempt to mix motifs from diverse manuscript and early printed sources, i.e. eclectic rather than individualistic, certainly not Vázquez’s method.

The context was the 1493 marriage of the maverick nephew of the first duke of el Infantado, Rodrigo Mendoza, to the daughter of the duke of Medinaceli, a claimant (via her mother) to the throne of Navarre. She died in 1497, soon after the demise of their offspring, having bequeathed the Navarre title to her father, and the intended Infantado/Medinaceli marriage alliance ended in the total alienation of Rodrigo Mendoza who, on the death of the duke in 1503, besieged Cogolludo. He was never reconciled to the Medinaceli clan.

Existing dating of the palace has ignored the prominent decorative representation of the maize plant (an architectural joke in this setting), not available in Europe before the mid-1490s, probably chosen because the duke was Columbus’s principal patron.

The motif brings the construction date of the palace closer to the souring of relations with the duke’s son-in-law, and suggests that the palace design was a challenge to the Mendozas and their near-monopoly of Vázquez (when Columbus arrived in Lisbon after his first voyage the duke wrote to Rodrigo’s father to tell him).

please also refer to hardcopy item for this output.

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London Metropolitan University