Art in Spain in the second half of the 18th century refl ected Bourbon patronage and the up-to-date training available at the new Fine Arts academies. In addition to monumental fresco painting, which Vicente López practiced into the 19th century, the Enlightenment monarchy favoured scenes of popular life and customs for the decoration of their pleasure palaces outside Madrid. Depictions of majos and majas off ered the fi rst imageof a rising social class, alongside fi gures engaged in diff erent trades including independent, liberal women for the fi rst time and the elegant, inquiring members of an emerging middle class taking walks or enjoying popular fi estas, also attended by the aristocracy in search of amusement. Giandomenico Tiepolo, who had previously depicted such scenes in Italy, returned to them in Spain with a critical eye that anticipates Goya. Bayeu and Castillo’s preliminary studies focus on the most agreeable side of everyday life through street scenes that herald 19th-century modernity. Portraits of middle-class sitters include Feliciana Bayeu and Tegeo’s expressive depiction of his wife dating from the early 19th century. Other works, such as Scene from a Play attributed to Juliá, Seated Woman by Camarón, and V. Lunardi, Mrs Sage and G. Bigg in in a Hot Air Balloon by Rigaud refl ect specifi c aspects of late 18th-century life. The latter depicts Vincent Lunardi’s balloon fl ight that took place in London in 1784 before a crowd of 200,000 people. Accompanying him were his assistant George Biggin and the actress and model Letitia Anne Sage, the fi rst woman to make such a trip. The event gave rise to endless speculation about what the participants might have got up to above the clouds.

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