Recent acquisitions by the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid


1. Jacopo Amigoni (1682-1752)
Portrait of Carlo Broschi called Farinelli
Oil on canvas - 82 x 61 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes
de San Fernando
Photo : Michel de Piles

28/3/09 – Acquisitions – Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes de San Fernando – A bit off the beaten track for tourists, the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes owns one of the most important collections in the Spanish capital, which complements those found in other establishments and is now displayed to visitors on three different floors. Spanish works predominate but other schools are also well represented. Beautiful acquisitions are made possible thanks to the interest from the Guitarte bequest and are then quickly hung in the galleries (for a summary on the museum and its previous acquisitions, see our news item of 6/3/05, in French). There we pointed out already the purchase of portraits by Francisco Bayeu and Luis Paret. The collection of 18th and 19th century portraits, one of the strong points, has recently been enriched with other remarkable pieces.

The Venetian painter Jacopo Amigoni painted the famous castrato, Farinelli, several times. The international careers of both of these artists often coincided. They had met in London around 1734-1737 and saw each other again later in Paris. In the 1750’s, they were each at the height of their career at the Spanish court. Farinelli had a strong influence, even politically, on Ferdinand VI and directed the Madrid Opera ; Amigoni was Painter to the King and directed the Real Academia de San Fernando. When comparing it with the Portrait of Farinelli, majestic and ironic, against a landscape, from the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart or with the one where he is with a group of friends (Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria) [1], the portrait acquired in 2006 by the Real Academia is more understated (ill. 1) with the figure closely focused in the foreground, evoking a deeper psychological approach [2]. The singer iswearing the decoration of the prestigious order of the Knights of Calatrava.

2. Anton Raphaël Mengs (1628-1779)
Portrait of Louis de Silvestre, c. 1745-1746
Oil on canvas - 64.8 x 51.7 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes
de San Fernando
Photo : Michel de Piles



Unpublished until 2007, acquired in 2008, the Portrait of Louis de Silvestre by Raphaël Anton Mengs (ill. 2) reflects the cordial relationship between the French artist and the young prodigy at the court in Dresden. This had been preceded by a pastel portrait, dated from 1745 (destroyed in 1945). When he returned to Paris in 1748, after having spent 32 years as First Painter at the court of Saxony, Silvestre recommended Mengs as his successor to the elector Louis Auguste. The most familiar portraits representing Silvestre date back to his return to France, notably those by Quentin La Tour (Saint Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer, 1753), by Greuze (Munich, Alte Pinacothek), by Jean Valade (Versailles, Musée national du Château, 1754) and the engraving by Watelet after Cochin (1753). The painting, stunning in its polished yet unctuous manner, joins the many works by this artist held in Madrid (see news item of 22/11/07).

3. José de Madrazo y Agudo (1781-1858)
Portrait of Manuel Godoy
Oil on canvas - 132 x 116 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes
de San Fernando
Photo : Museum press office

In 1816, the former minister Manuel Godoy turned over the remains of his private collection to the Academia in Madrid, including the famous Portrait as Prince of Peace by Goya from 1801 [3]. Thus, the purchase of the same figure in the portrait by José de Madrazo (ill. 3) is particularly interesting. The major representative of Neo-classicism in Spain, the artist spent his whole career in this institution, from his beginnings as a student and ending as its director. Madrazo had obtained a scholarship in 1801 to study in Paris thanks to a first portrait of Godoy. There he frequented David’s workshop. Five years later, Madrazo went to Rome, was imprisoned for his anti-Napoleonic convictions, then worked with Ingres decorating the Quirinal and was elected to the academy of Saint Luc. In 1814, the Spanish royal family in exile and Godoy had settled in the Palazzo Barberini. Madrazo then was named Chamber Painter to Charles IV and painted the members of the small court.

The museum also added to its gallery of portraits by Vicente López Portana with a version of the one of Ferdinand VII [4] . Charles IV’s successor posed several times for Goya, but openly preferred Vicente López. The king named him First Chamber Painter in 1815 (a year later, Madrazo was also named Chamber Painter).

4. José de Gallegos Arnossa (1857 - 1917)
Children’s chorus in Séville, 1889
Oil on canvas - 44 x 61.5 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes de San Fernando
Photo : Sotheby’s

5. Santiago Rusiñol y Prats (1682-1752)
Miramar’s gardon at Majorque(Sa Coma IV), 1904
Oil on canvas - 82 x 61 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes de San Fernando
Photo : Sotheby’s


6. José Gutiérrez Solana (1886-1945)
The Cupletista, 1927
Oil on canvas - 96 x 200 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes de San Fernando
Photo : Sotheby’s

Three paintings were acquired at the Sotheby’s auction on 15 November 2006 in London, respectively by José Gallegos (ill. 4) [5], Santiago Rusinol (ill. 5) [6] and José Gutierrez Solana (ill. 6) [7]. Over the past three years, the Academia museum was also able to further enrich its holdings with canvases by Ramón de Zubiaurre Aguirrezábal (Portrait of an Old Basque Woman, 1936), Joaquín Valverde (Portrait of Concepción Pérez Masegosa), of several paintings by Fernando Labrada, ranging from the Symbolism of his early career to the portraits inspired by the Quattrocento of the 1920’s (Antonia, 1928) and works by Julio González, Picasso (a beautiful drawing from 1969, in 2007) as well as by contemporary artists.

7. Fernando Labrada (1888-1977)
The 14th sonata (Beethoven’s Moonlight)
Oil on canvas - 82 x 61 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes de San Fernando
Photo : M de P

8. Nicolas Engelbert Cetto
(working during the first half of the 18th century)
View of Naples,
Wax relief in a golden bronze support - 44.5 x 55.5 cm
Madrid, Real Academia de bellas artes de San Fernando
Photo : Museum press office


Finally, we would like to point out the acquisition of three wax reliefs commissioned from the Bavarian sculptor Nikolas Engelbert Cetto for the wedding of Charles de Bourbon (the future Charles III) and Marie Amélie de Saxe. They represent the three cities associated with the spouses’ nobiliary titles : Dresden, Naples (ill. 8) and Jerusalem.

Internet website for the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

Version française


Michel de Piles, samedi 28 mars 2009


Notes

[1] Amigoni in fact placed himself in the midst of the musicians, all friends of Farinelli.

[2] It is similar to the Portrait of Farinelli by Amigoni at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, in miniature format. Corrado Giaquinto also executed a famous portrait of Farinelli (Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale).

[3] As well as other paintings relating to the minister, such as, for example, Godoy Presenting Peace to Charles IV by José Aparicio (1796).

[4] The complete title is Portrait of the King Ferdinand VII Dressed as a Patriot Wearing the Golden Fleece and the Great Crosses of Isabel la Catolica and Charles III. On Vicente López see also the news item of 1/9/06, in French.

[5] Lot 180, for 78.000£ (including charges). There is an internet website devoted to this interesting representative of “painting of Cardinals” in Spain : www.gallegosyarnosa.org.uk

[6] Lot 159, for 568.000£ (including charges).

[7] Lot 199, for 400.000£ (idem).



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