Concepción Serrano, later Countess of Santovenia1871. Oil on canvas, 163 x 106 cm.
María de la Concepción Serrano y Domínguez was the eldest child of General Serrano, the Duke of Torre. She was born in Havana in 1860, which her father was Commander in Chief of Cuba. In 1880, she married the second Count of Santovenia. She died in 1941 in Biarritz, her habitual residence. Rosales´ portrait shows a girl of eleven in a very gracious poise, secure in her social position at the moment when her father exercised his maximum political power as President of the Government. This work was presented at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1871, where it was surprising because of its distance from what had been customary in Spanish portraits until then. The greater monumentally which the painter gives this figure, the perfect rendering of the qualities of the textiles and the variations in tones produced by the highlights were truly striking. This is joined by the painter´s knowledge of Spain´s pictorial tradition. And, in fact, the girl is depicted in a setting that is very similar to Velasquez´s portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos as a Hunter (P01189). Moreover, her pose recalls certain royal portraits by Goya.