La Roldana
Person - Roldán, Luisa (1652-1706)

Roldán, Luisa (1652-1706)




Preferred form:

Roldán, Luisa (1652-1706)Other forms

Fechas de existencia:

Sevilla (España)  1652-09-08 - Madrid (España)  1706-01-10 (Fecha del bautizo)


Luisa Ignacia Roldán, La Roldana. Spanish sculptor. First documented woman sculptor in Spain.

He was born in Seville, probably at the end of August 1652, since his baptismal certificate was dated September 8 of the same year. She is the daughter of the sculptor Pedro Roldán, she is the fourth of the nine children of the marriage formed by Pedro Roldán and Teresa de Jesús de Mena Ortega, who came to form an extensive family of sculptors.

News about her childhood and youth is unknown due to lack of documentation. She, in all probability, would be trained in her father's workshop, at that time one of the most important in the city of Seville.

In 1671, she married Luis Antonio de los Arcos, a disciple in her father's workshop. Pedro Roldán opposes her marriage and for this reason, on December 17, 1671, Luisa is removed from her paternal home by court order, remaining in the custody of the golden teacher Lorenzo de Ávila until the wedding celebration.

From now on, Luisa Roldán presumably leaves her father's workshop and, together with her husband, begins her professional work independently, being the only one to be able to sign the works contracts. The two spouses gradually began to create a space for themselves in the Andalusian sculpture scene, hiring and executing works in Seville and other Andalusian provinces for churches, convents and brotherhoods.

Starting in the eighties, orders began to arrive from Cádiz and other neighboring towns that represent their definitive consecration. With this background and after the success achieved in Cádiz, the couple left Andalusia in 1689, finally settling in the Court. The first documentary verification of her life in Madrid is located on February 28, 1689, when a daughter named María Bernarda was baptized.

In 1692, she managed to be appointed a chamber sculptor, first to Charles II and, after his death and the arrival to the Bourbon throne, also to the new King Felipe V. Despite the professional recognition that the title signified, it is almost certain that the payroll was only "ad honorem", without being assigned the benefits corresponding to the position. This explains the constant pleas for monetary help from her to the Crown that are located in the documentation, as well as the requests of Luis Antonio for her to occupy some position in the palace. It seems that finally, in 1695, she was granted the titular position of her with the corresponding salary of her, although with delays, so that apparently the economic situation of the marriage was quite precarious.

A higher step in international professional recognition, rarely awarded to a Spanish artist and even less to a woman, was verified on January 10, 1706, when the Accademia di San Luca in Rome named her Academic of Merit, the same day that she was death was coming in Madrid. A few days before, she became ill and before her death was near, she made a declaration of extreme poverty, indicating that she did not have any property or anything to make a will on, even appealing to charity for her burial and suffrage for her soul.

Luisa was survived by her children Francisco and María, who both married in 1708, and her husband who died in 1711.

In the Simancas Archive, the Royal Decree of December 15, 1692 is preserved, by which she is granted the position of sculptor of the Majesty of her.


Profesión (Es realizada por):



Lugar de Residencia:

Cádiz (España) between 1684 and 1689

Lugar de Nacimiento:

Sevilla (España) in 1652-09-08

Lugar de Defunción:

Madrid (España) in 1706-01-10





Pascual Chenel, Álvaro . Luisa Ignacia Roldán. En Real Academia de la Historia, Diccionario Biográfico electrónico. [Consulta: 22/01/2021].

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External Links

Biografía virtual:

Diccionario biográfico de la RAH

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Catálogo de Autoridades:


Fichero de Autoridades:

Biblioteca Nacional de España


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