Charity (Mari Blanca)

The carved stone image portrays a young woman dressed in an elegant gown and holding a shield depicting the sun. Her other hand is touching the head of a child, who is holding a dove. At her feet rests a horn of plenty overflowing with fruit. This is therefore an allegorical portrayal of Abundance, with an iconography in keeping with the late 18th century academic style. The presence of the child with the dove has also led the image to be identified with Charity, an idea which is highly characteristic of learned thought of the seventeen hundreds. The work is of a high artistic standard, as evident in the design and stone carving technique employed. Stylistically, this image is related to the French style present in the Madrid Academy thorough those sculptors working at the royal palace of La Granja, such as Carlier, Fremin, Thierry, Bousseau and Pitué, amongst others, during the first half of the 18th century. Burgosborn Julián San Martin, the author of this work, was then assistant director of sculpture at the Academy and was working on the Pamplona cathedral at that time. He is also the author of the child Neptune, crowning the fountain of the Plaza del Consejo square. The Charity sculpture did in actual fact crown one of the five fountains designed by Luis Paret y Alcázar in 1788, commissioned by the Pamplona City Council, to provide this capital city of Navarre with a public water supply. The fountain remained in the centre of the Plaza del Castillo square until 1910, when it was removed to be replaced by a wooden kiosk. In 1913 Charity once more became part of the public scene, being relocated to the square of San Francisco, remaining there until 1927 when it was replaced by a sculpture of St Francis of Assisi, created by Navarre sculptor Ramón Arcaya. Charity wasthen removed and installed in the gardens of La Taconera where it can now be seen today.

Ignacio Urricelqui Pacho