Stapleton Codex: Patent of Nobility for Francisco Quintano de Villalobos, a Native of Extremadura, Spain Who Spent His Adult Life in Potosi, Bolivia
- Sebastián de Mena
- Work Locations: Granada, Spain
- Active Years: 1595-1603
Sebastián de Mena, Stapleton Codex: Patent of Nobility for Francisco Quintano de Villalobos, a Native of Extremadura, Spain Who Spent His Adult Life in Potosi, Bolivia, 1597. Tempera, ink, and gold leaf on parchment paper with a velvet binding; 13 × 9 in. Gift of the Stapleton Foundation of Latin American Colonial Art, made possible by the Renchard Family, 1990.458.
This extraordinary manuscript was commissioned by Francisco Quintano de Villalobos, a native of Extremadura (Spain) who spent his adult life in Potosí, the Bolivian city known for its silver mining wealth. The volume outlines Quintano’s noble birthright (genealogy) and served as a formal application to the King Phillip II of Spain for a patent of nobility. Proving noble lineage entitled people to special privileges and freed them from paying taxes. The codex is dated 1597 and was returned to Quintano in Potosí after the successful review of his petition.
The volume is attributed to the artist workshop of Sebastian de Mena in Granada, Spain and includes five brilliantly illuminated pages including a full-page image of St. James and an exquisite miniature portrait of Philip II. In another folio, members of Quintano’s family are shown in adoration of a scene of the Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist. The page is framed by ornate margins that feature a profusion of creatures and flowers on a gold ground.
-- Michael A. Brown and Julie Wilson Frick, 2013