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Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala City, Sept 16, 1781; d Guatemala City, Nov 21, 1845).

Guatemalan painter, printmaker, and medallist. He entered the mint in 1795 as an apprentice engraver but on the recommendation of its director, Pedro Garci-Aguirre, also became Master Corrector at the Escuela de Dibujo de la Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País, Guatemala City, in 1796, holding the post until 1804. He continued working at the mint until 1809 and demonstrated outstanding skill both as a medallist and engraver of coins and as an engraver and etcher. He returned to the mint in 1823 as second engraver, remaining in the post until his death.

Despite the quality of his work as a printmaker and medallist, Cabrera gained artistic recognition especially as a miniature painter, working mostly in watercolour on ivory in a meticulous technique. He produced some miniatures on religious themes and others of birds, but the majority, measuring no more than 50 mm in height or width, were portraits of members of the Guatemalan aristocracy and bourgeoisie. It is not known exactly how many he produced, but from the middle of the 1830s he began to number them, starting from 500; the highest known number of the approximately 200 authenticated miniatures is 745. Although he suffered some illness, he was most productive during the last five years of his life. An evolution can be discerned from his earliest works, dating from ...

Article

Kelly Donahue-Wallace

[Gil y Pérez, Gerónimo Antonio]

(b Zamora, Spain, Nov 3, 1731; d Mexico City, April 18, 1798).

Spanish printmaker, medallist, and type designer, active in Spain and Mexico. He was one of the first students at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Fernando in Madrid (founded 1752), which awarded him a pension to train as a medallist from 1754 to 1758 under Spain’s Engraver General, Tomás Francisco Prieto (1726–82). In 1760 the academy named Gil Académico de Mérito for his medal-engraving skills.

Upon completing his studies, Gil briefly served as drawing instructor at the S Fernando academy but worked principally making copperplate engravings, letter press type, and medals. He was a frequent contributor to luxury books sponsored by the Real Academia de Historia and the S Fernando academy, including the so-called prince’s edition of Don Quixote (1780) and Antigüedades árabes de España (1787). He spent more than 15 years designing type for the Real Biblioteca, and was credited by his peers with rescuing the Spanish type-making industry. The finest works he carried out in Spain included the engraved illustrations for ...

Article

Maria Helena Mendes Pinto

(fl Braga, 1692–1717; d Braga, 1720).

Portuguese cabinetmaker and metalworker. The most outstanding characteristic of his documented works—all commissioned by religious institutions—is his use of pau preto (Brazilian rose-wood), either solid or thickly veneered on to chestnut, worked em espinhado (in a herring-bone pattern) decorated with parallel grooves, mouldings and, more rarely, with almofadados (pillow panelling). In the contracts signed by Marques with the chapter of Braga Cathedral and various convents and Misericórdia churches in northern Portugal he is referred to as the enxamblador da Cónega (joiner) responsible for executing both the woodwork and decorative metalwork of the furniture commissioned. The application of pierced and gilded brass plaques in the form of borders, rosettes in relief, enormous escutcheons and impressive handles is a constant feature of his work. He played an important role in northern Portuguese furniture-making for the uniformity of his production. He specialized in balustrades, for example those for the pulpit of the Misericórdia church in Vila do Conde (...