This lovely Daniel Zuloaga (1852-1921) faience enameled art tile measures 6.25" high by 8.25" across by 3/8" thick. This tile depicts a Christening or Baptism in Segovia with several women gathering to celebrate the Christening, one carrying the infant, who is clothed in a beautiful long white Christening robe and bonnet, and others carrying baskets of food and gifts. In ceramic history, it is believed that the cuerda seca style began in Spain and Potugal. This style is one in which the glaze colors are kept from melding together by a greasy pigment, allowing for the pooling of colors within the lines, allowing for a crisp color presentation. This tile is incised with Zuloaga's cipher signature on the backside. The Zuloaga Museum in Segovia conserves many artworks by Zuloaga, including many of Zuloaga's enameled tiles. This tile is extremely well accomplished in its presentation, with a beautiful mission/church landscape background. This tile is in near original condition with some areas of enamel loss on the edges of the tile. Faience glazes tended to be soft, so glaze surface edge chips are hard to avoid. One are is in the lower right corner, one in the upper left corner side edge, both very small, but surface chips nonetheless. Another larger surface chip is on the right side, just below what appears to be a bell tower, right along the tile's edge, which is an old surface chip that blends in quite nicely, and is not apparent at first blush. This more than 100-year-old tile makes a very impressive Arts and Crafts presentation.
Zuloaga began to achieve international success with his piece entitled 'Daniel Zuloaga and His Daughters', which was exhibited in 1899 and purchased by the French government for the Luxembourg Museum in Paris. About 1907, he became a popular society portraitist, and is one of the most famous and renowned artists in Spain.
According to Wikipedia, Daniel Zuloaga of Boneta Madrid was born in 1852 into an artists family who specialized in metal work. In the initial years of his life, he was trained by his family in these skills, particularly by his father Eusebio Zuloaga who was director of the Royal Armoury and specialist in damascene (metal inlay work), and his brother-in-law (sister’s husband) Ignacio Suárez Llanos who was a well-known painter. He was the half-brother of Plácido Zuloaga who took over the family workshop from his father. He went to school of ceramics in Sèvres, France to specialize in the ceramic arts. On his return to Spain, he joined the Royal Factory in Moncloa.
His first major assignment was tile work for the Exposición Nacional de Minería of 1883 in Madrid, decorating Ricardo Velázquez Bosco's Palacio de Velázquez. He associated with Velázquez professionally and worked in his team on many projects in Madrid, Segovia and Guipúzcoa. He also participated in international exhibitions..
His nephew was the renowned painter Ignacio Zuloaga. One particular aspect of Igancio's paintings was that he painted his uncle and his entire family again and again and displayed the paintings, portraying them in Spanish gypsy life, in many parts of the world. One of his famous paintings is that of his uncle and his family portrayed in national costume in the backdrop of Spanish natural scenery and titled “My Uncle Daniel and his family”. This painting is displayed in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
In his old age, Daniel Zuloaga grew a white beard, resembling a saint. He was very well known in Spain for his rich contribution to ceramic arts and also introducing coloured tiles, which depicted Castilian rural life. His children helped him in the art work, with Esperanza, one of his two gifted daughters helping him in colouring. While his pottery works are seen in all parts of Spain, the ceramics works are particularly conspicuous in many famous churches and in the passages of Seville.
In 1905, Zuloaga purchased the Church of San Juan de los Caballeros in Segovia, which he converted into his workshop. The design shop was housed in the vestry. In another chamber of the church he applied colours on the baked works before carrying out glazing. The furnaces or hornos, which were fired with wood or charcoal, were kept in the nave. Another wing of the church was the storehouse for the materials for his art works, such as “old missals, lecterns, parchments and chairs”. He died in Segovia in 1921 at the age of 71.