Nude Old Man in the Sun, Mariano Fortuny,oil on canvas, 76cm x 60cm, ca. 1871, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

Following the civil wars, the emergence of a fledgling Spanish national identity in the mid-19th century was supported by a period of relative economic prosperity. A move toward Romanticism brought with it a focus on genres that reflected the ideals of middle-class taste of the period, including landscapes, portraits, historical and religious scenes and nudes. Featured in this section are the works of Federico de Madrazo, known for his history painting and his portraits (and as a onetime director of the Prado); Eduardo Rosales, who looked back to Diego Velázquez in pursuit of a new Realism in Spanish painting; Mariano Fortuny, whose fascination with Orientalist themes reflected his exotic travels and international career; Aureliano de Beruete, one of the earliest Spanish painters to identify with the Impressionist movement; and Joaquín Sorolla, whose realist paintings depicting the lives of fishermen and farmers explored the effects of sunlight and shadow and pushed Spanish painting toward the threshold of modernity.

 
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