Chronological frameworkFirst half of the 15th century, documented between 1418 and 1444
Geographical FrameworkCatalonia (he used the stamp of Barcelona) and Valencia
Smelting, silver sobredorada, plancha recortada y cincelada. Use of enamels.
Profile and historiographical debate
Between 1418 and 1444, some documental mentions place the silversmith Marc Olzina in the city of Barcelona. Among those notices are to be found the mentions to his unique documented and preserved work, the Cross of the Holy Martyrs of Cardona. These notices are the artwork contract (1420) –with his cancellation (1427)–, a payment on account of the work (1422) and a demand of the work (no date). The documentation from Valencia also offers some notices where someone called “an March Olzina, argenter de la ciutat de Valencia” is found (1426). Taking into account the existence of other silversmiths called Olzina in Valencia, it is possible that Marc Olzina might come from this city. In that case, his vital itinerary would be similar to those of other well-known silversmiths as Pere Bernés or Bernat Lleopart.
Thus the Cardona cross is the only clue to discover the artistic personality of Marc Olzina. The higher quality of the work reveals his author as one of the most prominent silversmiths of the Barcelona area –he uses the stamp of bar city. The typology of the cross coincides perfectly with the general typologies of the best processional crosses of the first half of the 15th century, as the one from Sant Nicolau in Cervera. The sculptural figures under the cross canopies take the characteristically form of International Gothic –accordingly to its chronology–, allowing to establish stylistic parallelisms with the Catalan sculpture of this moment.
The local historiography of Cardona, with remarkable studies such those of J. Serra Vilaró, had contribute to the knowledge of the cross and also of the silversmith, including some new contributions. With a monographic character, the silversmith was included in the study of N. de Dalmases about the goldsmithing in Gothic Barcelona. We could also refer to the study of J. L. Gil Cabrera, who has show some possible familiar relationships with the other Valentian silversmiths, even if he doesn’t go into the topic of the chronology and place of execution.
- The only documented and preserved work of Marc Olzina is the Cross of Holy Martyrs of Cardona (Creu dels Sants Màrtirs de Cardona), preserved in Sant Miquel church in Cardona. He might do some little jobs for Alfonso el Magnánimo.
University of Cardona, partly funded by count Joan Ramon Folc I (1375-†1441); Alfonso el Magnánimo (1396-†1458) (?).
Documented between 1418 and 1444 as “March Olzina”. The year 1447 he was already deceased. Documents published by the studies (vid. infra.)
Text: Montse Barniol
BALLARÓ CASAS-SERRA VILARÓ 1906: 108; SERRA VILARÓ 1913: 163; SANCHIS SIVERA 1922: 633; Exposición Internacional…, 1929, p. 267; GUDIOL 1933: 558; SERRA VILARÓ 1962: 174 y ss.; DALMASES 1992: 255-258; DALMASES 1986: 246; GALERA 2000: 106-107; GIL CABRERA 2005: 265-267; DALMASES 2008: 33-50; BARNIOL- DURAN: 2010.