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Diptych with 42 Monumental Views of Spanish Cities
Pérez Villaamil y Duguet, Genaro
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Pérez Villaamil y Duguet, Genaro

El Ferrol, La Coruña, 1807 - Madrid, 1854

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Diptych with 42 Monumental Views of Spanish Cities

1835 - 1839. Oil on paper, panel, tin plate

Genaro Pérez Villaamil (El Ferrol, 1807-Madrid, 1854) can be considered the most significant and influential Spanish Romantic landscape painter and an artist who had an intense interest, characteristic of that period, in depictions of cities and their monuments.

The small size of the tin plates on which theses scenes are painted allowed Villaamil to work from the motif, as he generally did with his drawings and watercolours. When working in oil, however, he favoured larger format works executed in the studio and more reliant on the imagination, for example Herd of Bulls by a River below a Castle, which offers a fanciful recreation of cities beside rivers, such as Toledo. The present Diptych is thus extremely important for a knowledge of Villaamil’s oils painted before the views themselves.

Like other series by the artist, such as Views of Madrid, Spanish Figure Types and Bullfighting, the Diptych was painted for George Villiers, British ambassador to Madrid circa 1835-1839, and subsequently Earl of Clarendon. Villiers was thus Villaamil’s most important patron in his early career and contributed to the artist’s decision to adapt his style to British taste. The views were painted between 1835 and 1838, following Villaamil’s decisive encounter in 1833 with the Scottish painter David Roberts, and reveal Roberts’ influence in their technique and choice of subjects, as evident in The Torre del Oro and The Castle of Alcalá de Guadaíra.

Principally depicting Toledo and Seville, the views also anticipate Villaamil’s subsequent interest in monuments, leading to his role as artistic director of the publishing project España artística y monumental (1842-1850), an extensive set of lithographs for which he supplied drawings and watercolours that deploy compositions and viewpoints notably similar to some of these scenes.

The Diptych, which at the time of its acquisition was assembled as a screen mounted on wheels following modifications carried out in the 20th century, has been completely restored at the Museum. The original structure was reinstated in the form of two separate Gothic panels, as described in an inventory of 1839. Made of lacquered pine with ebony veneer, the panels reflect the characteristically British Neo-Gothic taste.

Views of Spanish Cities reveals Villaamil’s ability to depict architectural interiors and exteriors, some of which were already in ruins and would soon completely disappear. They also demonstrate the artist’s skill in working directly in oil on tin plate, working with very diluted layers of paint then adding final touches of pigment that emphasise effects of light on the complex details of the Mudéjar and Gothic architecture, the two styles most present in the views (Views of Spanish Cities. The Romantic Painter Genaro Pérez Villaamil, 2014).

Technical data

Inventory number
P008065
Author
Pérez Villaamil y Duguet, Genaro
Title
Diptych with 42 Monumental Views of Spanish Cities
Date
1835 - 1839
Technique
Oil
Support
Paper; Panel; Tin plate
Dimension
Height: 172.5 cm.; Width: 182 cm.
Provenance
George William Villiers Collection, 1839; heirs of Villiers; Acquisition, 2011

Bibliography +

Pérez Villaamil, G., España artística y monumental. Vistas y descripción de los sitios y monumentos más notables de España, Alberto Hauser, Paris, 1850.

Sotheby's London, 2011, pp. 122-123 lote 106.

Solache, G., 'Cecilio Pizarro. Álbum de dibujos', en No solo Goya : adquisiciones para el Gabinete de Dibujos y Estampas del Museo del Prado : 1997 - 2010, No sólo Goya. Adquisiciones 1997-2010. Gabinete de Dibujos y Estampas, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2011, pp. 266-267.

Barón, Javier, El paisaje romántico en España. En: El arte de la era romántica, Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2012, pp. 305-333.

Barón, J., Genaro Pérez Villaamil 'Díptico con 42 vistas monumentales de ciudades españolas' En: Memoria de actividades 2011, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2012, pp. 34-37.

Barón, Javier, Genaro Pérez Villaamil. Díptico con vistas de ciudades españolas, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2014.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura del Siglo XIX en el Museo del Prado: catálogo general, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 465-470.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2823.

Location +

Room 063B (On Display)

Expuesto
Update date: 06-04-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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