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Feliciana Bayeu, the Painter's Daughter
Bayeu, Francisco
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Bayeu, Francisco

Zaragoza, 1734 - Madrid, 1795

Bayeu, Francisco See author's file

Feliciana Bayeu, the Painter's Daughter

1787. Oil on canvas.
Room 089

Francisco Bayeu worked as a court painter to Charles III from 1767; by 1787 -the date of this small portrait- he had produced a considerable number of decorations for the royal palaces and important churches. He reached the zenith of his brilliant career as an official painter and academician around this time, being named Director of Painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1788, which in 1790 qualified him for an annual salary of 50´000 reals, the maximum a court painter could receive at the time. In February 1787 he suffered an illness that, according to his brother´s collected letters, left him with delicate health; despite this, he continued to work tirelessly from August of that same year on a series of frescoes for the cloister of the Cathedral of Toledo. It is possible that it was precisely that illness that led him to paint his only child, Feliciana, born on 18 May 1774, after 15 years of Bayeu´s marriage to Sebastiana Merclein y Salillas from Zaragoza whose Bohemian father was Bayeu´s first teacher. This portrait is one of the few painted by Bayeu and represents the girl at 13 years of age, as the artist´s handwritten inscription on the canvas indicates. A bust-length portrait, in a three-quarter view, with her head and gaze turned toward the viewer, it corresponds to the type of portrait from the period that aimed to present a natural, unmediated image of the sitter. The somewhat porcelain quality of her skin, as well as the youthful tenderness in her expression, reflect the influence of the neoclassical painter Anton Raphael Mengs, first painter to the king in the court of Charles III between 1762 and 1777. Nevertheless, we can also detect a certain inner preoccupation, indicating a change in the conception of the portrait genre, surpassing the affected sentimentalism that defined female portraits in the second half of the eighteenth century. In contrast to that convention, her expression reveals a subtle psychological study that was then novel, something that was already apparent in Goya´s portraits from the same period and that would become a generalised characteristic of portraiture in the 1790s. The girl´s timid expression -she seems to be weighed down by her complicated headdress of large bows- is accentuated by the painting´s spontaneous character, in which the reddish preparatory layer has been left exposed in areas. This mixture of tenderness and preoccupation also reflects the artist´s personal vision, for he was surely concerned about his daughter´s future, given that the enormous amount of work he carried out for the royal court prevented him from accepting private commissions and thereby acquiring wealth that he could leave her as an inheritance. For this reason, Bayeu requested a pension for his daughter that could provide a dowry in case of his death, which the king granted on 11 September 1789. Significantly, another portrait of his daughter painted shortly after this one presents the girl with a more self-confident expression (Museo de Bellas Artes, Zaragoza). Feliciana´s economic security was consolidated in June 1795, two months before her father´s death, through her marriage to Pedro Ibáñez Machín, an official in the General Accounting Office of the Postal Service, though following Bayeu´s death the young couple had to leave the house that the painter´s family had occupied, since it was then officially assigned to Mariano Salvador Maella so that he could set up his workshop there (Maurer, G.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 196).

Technical data

Inventory number
Bayeu, Francisco
Feliciana Bayeu, the Painter's Daughter
Height: 38 cm; Width: 30 cm
Legacy of Cristóbal Férriz Sicilia, 1912.

Bibliography +

Sambricio, Valentin De, Francisco Bayeu, Instituto Diego Velázquez, Madrid, 1955, pp. 39 / lám. 38.

Goya and his times: Royal Academy Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts in London, Londres, 1963.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Huyghe, René, El arte y el hombre, III, Planeta, Barcelona, 1977, pp. 313.

Puente, Joaquín de la, Del Greco a Goya, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1978.

Morales y Marin, Jose Luis, Los Bayeu, Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Arag, Zaragoza, 1979, pp. nº46.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Panorama de la pintura española desde los Reyes Católicos a, Servicio de Publicaciones del Instituto de Coopera, Madrid, 1980, pp. 116.

Agueda, Mercedes, ''El ideal de belleza en Mengs-Bayeu-Goya'' en: Actas de las i Jornadas de Arte Organizadas por el Instituto..., Instituto Diego Velazquez.C.S.I.C, Madrid, 1982, pp. 35.

El niño en el Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, Madrid, 1983, pp. 149.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 39.

Symmons, Sarah, Goya. In Pursuit of Patronage, Gordon Fraser, Londres, 1988, pp. 138.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 166.

Morales y Marín, José Luis., Francisco Bayeu : vida y obra /, Ediciones Moncayo, 1995, pp. n.171.

Francisco Bayeu: 1734-1795 : exposición Zaragoza, 18 abril-1, Museo e Instituto de Humanidades "Camón Aznar", 1996.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996, pp. nº1351.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Goya y la pintura española del siglo XVIII: guía, Museo del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2000, pp. 126.

Luna, J. J., ''Feliciana Bayeu, hija del pintor (h. 1787-1788)'', en: Ruiz Gómez, L.: El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid:, 2006, pp. 176, n. 59.

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 196-197, nº58.

Maurer, G., Goya: lo bello y lo recóndito. En: La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 376.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, folleto, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 49 n.212.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1985. Núm. 740H.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 740H.

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1351.
Autor: Don Francisco Goya / 1351: Retrato de Feliciana Bayeu, sobrina del pintor. (hoja de lata) / Dimensiones: Alto 0,38: Ancho 0,72 / Legado, como los dos siguientes, por Don Cristobal Ferriz Sicilia y aceptado por R.O. de 22 de marzo de 1912

Inscriptions +

Rtº de la Feliciana / niña de 13 años
Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Meta-painting. A Journey to the Idea of Art
15.11.2016 - 19.02.2017

Captive Beauty. Fra Angelico to Fortuny
21.05.2013 - 10.11.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
12.06.2007 - 02.09.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
05.03.2007 - 20.05.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
12.12.2006 - 18.02.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
19.09.2006 - 26.11.2006

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
22.06.2006 - 21.08.2006

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Santiago de Compostela
09.03.2006 - 14.05.2006

Location +

Room 089 (On Display)

Update date: 07-07-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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