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Fortuny, Mariano
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Fortuny, Mariano

Reus, Tarragona, 1838 - Rome, 1874

Fortuny, Mariano See author's file


1868. Watercolour, Gouache / tempera on paper.
Not on display

This watercolor offers a profile view -similar to a low relief- of a child or young faun sitting on a fragment of an Ionic entablature with egg-and-dart decorations above an astragal. The slender, nude child recalls the Italian boys who worked as models in academies and were depicted by European painters and sculptors. At the academies where he studied, Fortuny had drawn numerous nude boys, some playing the flute, but his first concrete approach to the model was a drawing now at the Biblioteca nacional in Madrid. According to his friend, painter Attilio Simonetti, he made at the Accademia Gigi in Rome in 1865 as a preparatory sketch for one of his best-known engravings: Idilio. Dated in Rome in 1865, it precedes the present watercolor by three years, although the composition is essentially the same. In the drawing, the entablature has been replaced by a simple cube, with no reference to the landscape and no goat. It is notable that the painter so closely followed the print’s composition in this later and larger watercolor. The etched modeling of the body, with its markedly contrasting light and shadows is softened in the watercolor’s dark ochers, but the shaded areas are practically identical. The shape and folds of the cloth are also very similar. There are also differences, however, and one of the most important is the boy’s back, which is not as far forward in the watercolor. This imbues the painted figure with a more elegant and mannerist appearance that its etched predecessor. The presence of red, pink and blue flowers also enlivens the landscape. The watercolor has a greater number of rapid, nervous strokes in the plants on the right, and the white strip that seems to represent the sea in the etching is narrower in the painting, so that it is unclear whether or not it is, in fact, a body of water. The reduced role of this horizontal reference, the total visibility of the goat and the expansion of the foreground give the watercolor’s composition a freer and more floating feel than that of the print, which seems more solid and concentrated. The watercolor’s colorfulness accentuates that character, offering some very beautiful combinations, such as the blue flower on the dry red cloth with pink touches. The dominant tones, especially the combinations of whites and blues in the sky, are redolent of Tiepolo. Moreover, Fortuny’s free brushstrokes allow him to convey the goat’s thick and consistent hair while simultaneously rendering the plant stems with a fluid and rapid touch that accentuates their broken character in a manner that resembles the approach of Japanese artists whose work Fortuny was able to see at the Universal Exposition of 1867 in Paris. This pastoral motif was widely explored in painting from the second half of the 19th-century and reflects the reevaluation of classical Antiquity by various arts. In painting, the neo-Hellenic style was supported by the 2nd Empire in France and by Victorian society in Great Britain. Here, the subject allows the artist to depict a nude child in Nature, resulting in a very fresh work. Errazu owned a work that was exhibited with the title Faune endormi (Sleeping Faun) in the Spanish Pavilion at the 1878 Universal Exposition in Paris, which must be this one, if we understand the adjective to mean indolent or sleepy. Moreover, the child’s mussed hair and nudity allow us to identify him as a young faun. This work by Fortuny was well known, thanks to his own engraving, as well as its reproductions, and the etched copy that Miguel Seguí made in 1887 (Text drawn from Barón, J.: El legado Ramón de Errazu, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, pp. 116-119).


Technical data

Related artworks

EL Idilio
Etching on paper, 1916
Fortuny, Mariano
Inventory number
Fortuny, Mariano
Watercolour; Gouache / tempera
Height: 315 mm; Width: 230 mm
Legacy of Ramón de Errazu y Rubio de Tejada, 1904

Bibliography +

Exposición Fortuny, Servicio de Defensa del Patrimonio Artístico Nacio, Barcelona, 1940.

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

Ainaud de Lasarte, Josep M., Mariano Fortuny, Comisaría Nacional de Museos y Exposiciones Junta de Museos de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1974.

Ainaud de Lasarte, Josep M., Mariano Fortuny et Ses Amis Français, Musee Goya, Castres, 1974.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., El Niño en el Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Cultura, Oviedo, 1984, pp. 155.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas del siglo XIX, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1985, pp. 78.

Gonzalez Lopez, Carlos, Mariano Fortuny Marsal, Diccionario Rafols, Barcelona, 1989, pp. 264 / lám. 111.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (III). Nuevas Adquisiciones. Museo Iconográfico. Tapices., Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

El legado de Ramón de Errazu: Fortuny, Madrazo y Rico, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 116, nº9.

Fascinació per Grècia : l' art a Catalunya als segles XIX i..., Museu d' Art de Girona, 2009, pp. 124-125.

Ballester, Jordi, Music and poetics of Ancient Rome in the work of the spanish painter Mariano Fortuny, Music in art, XL n.1-2 spring-fall, 2015, pp. 217-228 [220-223 f.4].

Gutiérrez Márquez, Ana, Cecilia de Madrazo: Luz y memoria de Mariano Fortuny., Museo Nacional del Prado. Fundación María Cristina Masaveu, Madrid, 2017, pp. 40.

Barón, Javier, 'Mariano Fortuny. Idilio' En:, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2017, pp. 204-206 n.53.

Other inventories +

Inv. Dibujos siglo XIX, Casón del Buen Retiro. Núm. 565.

Números descatalogados del inventario informático. Núm. P002609.
Por indicación del Jefe de Área de Pintura del S. XIX se cambió su numeración

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1361.
Como se ha notado que los cuadros de la colección legada por D. Ramón de Errazu, no se hallan inventariados, se ponen ahora en este sitio aunque debieran estar antes. / Legado de D. Ramón de Errazu, que se aceptó por Real Orden de 13 de diciembre de 1904 / Autor = Mariano Fortuny 1361. Asunto = Idilio (acuarela) / Dimensiones = alto = 0,31 ancho = 0,225

Inscriptions +

Fortuny / XI 68
Signed and dated. Front, upper left corner

Legado de D.Ramón de Errazu 1904
On metallic tablet. Frame, front, lower bar

M.N.PRADO / 02609
On metallic tablet. Frame, back, upper bar

Exhibitions +

I Fortuny. Una storia di famiglia
26.08.2019 - 26.11.2019

Fortuny (1838-1874)
21.11.2017 - 18.03.2018

Temporary display: "Fortuny and the Splendour of Spanish Watercolours in the Prado"
02.03.2011 - 04.09.2011

El legado Ramón Errazu: Fortuny, Madrazo y Rico
13.12.2005 - 12.03.2006

Displayed objects +


Update date: 16-03-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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