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Giaquinto, Corrado
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Giaquinto, Corrado

Molfetta, Apulia (Italy), 1703 - Naples (Italy), 1766

See author's file


1754 - 1757. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

Corrado Giaquinto had frequent contacts with Spain as of 1735 or earlier. But the death of Jacopo Amigoni in 1752 led to his being summoned to Madrid the next year. During his stay in the Spanish Court, he earned the highest honors given to a painter in that era. He became First Painter to the Court in August 1753 and director of the Academy of San Fernando that December. His main mission was the fresco decoration of the Royal Chapel and the current Staircase and Hall of Columns of the Royal Palace of Madrid. As preparatory work for the frescoes, he rendered the sketches presented in this exhibition. The first of these was the sketch for the entrance vault. The others were for the dome. The theme represented in the dome is the Coronation of the Virgin, in which the artist included countless saints, arranged in a somewhat confusing way. All this is supported by pendentives on which the artist painted Saint Isidoro, Saint Hermenegildo, Saint Isidro Labrador and Saint María de la Cabeza. In the entrance vault appears the scene of the Battle of Clavijo. In the presbytery vault is painted the Trinity with Dead Christ. In the choir is painted the Three Theological Virtues. The work executed by Giaquinto on the fresco cycle in the Chapel was subject to the instructions issued by the Benedictine, Martín Sarmiento. As of 1743, Sarmiento was committed to the mission of drafting a document defining the elements required in the decoration of the New Palace then under construction. These elements would have to be both decorative and representative, thereby converting the royal residence into a symbol of the new Bourbon dynasty.

From then until when Charles III ascended to the throne, Sarmiento drafted an enormous volume of plans in which he sought to articulate the different manifestations of art (sculpture, painting, upholstery and epigraphy), creating what he defined as a decorating scheme. The scheme would show the greatness of the Spanish monarchy, its history, virtues, and role defending Catholicism. One of the most interesting features of this project was that artistic representations were subject to the dictates of the Benedictine. Artistic creativity was exercised in service of the laudatory message. Unfortunately, the documents drafted by Sarmiento for the painters have not been found. From the scanty records preserved, we know that the Marqués de Villarías commissioned Sarmiento to draft a report in August, 1747. He was to write about the subjects to be painted on the ceiling of the New Palace. A year later, Sarmiento delivered twenty-five plans for the ceiling of the chapel, which also have not been found. The loss of this highly important document makes it impossible to establish the degree to which the Giaquinto might have observed the monk´s dictates. The four sketches, among which this work is, for the fresco cycle in the Chapel of the Royal Palace of Madrid (The Battle of Clavijo, P000106; Glory of the Saints, P000109; The Trinity and Saints, P005441) reveal the artist´s working method. He started with preliminary drawings in which he precisely defined figures and compositions. These works were so meticulously rendered that few changes would be introduced in the fresco. Their level of completion allows us to assume that these were sketches, or more properly, modelli. Giaquinto would have submitted these as proposals to the authorities for acceptance; they would subsequently be painted as frescoes. In their own time, these works were greatly appreciated, as can be seen in a notice of October 9, 1761, indicating that all the sketches rendered by Giaquinto for the decoration of the Royal Palace had been framed. This would have been done in order to group them for viewing, although nothing indicates this was ever actually carried through.

These works reveal the influence of the two painters to which the artist was most attracted: Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena. Also Neapolitans, the were excellent frescoists. Indeed, Giaquinto´s first work in Spain was restoring the Allegory of the Order of Toisón, which was painted by Giordano in 1697 in the main room of the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid. Another example of their influence is the fresco picturing the Battle of Clavijo, in which Giaquinto took figures from the works of both masters. In fact, the general impression created by Giaquinto´s work is that it was very much influenced by Giaquinto´s work is that it was very much influence by Giordano. Starting with the confusion of the foreground battle, it is also evident in each successive plane as the images appear blurrier and more monochromatic. The background figures appear to be authentic grisailles, a treatment followed by Giordano on the Staircase of the Monastery of El Escorial (Battle of Saint Quentín) and in Appearance of the Virgin to St. Ferdinand, from the Church of the Hospicio in Madrid, to note two exemples (Text drawn from Úbeda de los Cobos, Andrés; The Majesty of Spain, Jackson, Mississippi, 2001, pp. 57-60).

The Majesty of Spain. Royal Collections From the Museo del P, Jackson, Mississipi, Mississipi Commission For Internati, 2001, p.57-61

Technical data

Related artworks

The Battle of Clavijo
Oil on canvas, 1755 - 1756
Giaquinto, Corrado
The Glory of Saints
Oil on canvas, 1755 - 1756
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The Trinity
Oil on canvas, 1755 - 1756
Giaquinto, Corrado
Inventory number
Giaquinto, Corrado
1754 - 1757
Height: 97.5 cm; Width: 140 cm
Serie para la Capilla del Palacio Real
Royal Collection (Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, sacristía, 1794, s.n.).

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viaje de España, M.Aguilar, Madrid, 1947, pp. 535.

D'Orsi, Mario, Corrado Giaquinto, Societa Dante Alighieri, Roma, 1958, pp. 116.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., En torno a Corrado Gisquinto, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 44, 1971, pp. 395.

Osaba y Ruiz de Erenchun, Basilio, Museo Arqueologico de Burgos, Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia, Madrid, 1974, pp. 50.

Urrea Fernández, Jesús, La pintura italiana del siglo XVIII en España, Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad, Valladolid, 1977, pp. 140-141.

L' art européen á la cour d'Espagne au XVIIIe siecle, Reunion des musees nationaux, París, 1979, pp. 179.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Noticias del Prado. Levantamiento de depósitos. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Casa Museo Colón, Boletín del Museo del Prado, VIII (24), 1987, pp. 207.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1996, pp. 124.

The Majesty of Spain. Royal Collections From the Museo del P, Mississipi Commission For Internati, Jackson, Mississipi, 2001, pp. 57-61.

Corrado Giaquinto y España, Patrimonio Nacional, 2006, pp. 208.

Rodríguez Arana, Esperanza, La técnica mural de Corrado Giaquinto tras la restauración de los frescos de la Capilla Real, Reales Sitios, XLIX, 2012, pp. 48-70 [50].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 29.
Giaquinto (Corrado) / 29. Presentacion de la Gloria de los Santos. (Boceto) / Alto 3 pies, 5 pulg; Ancho 4 pies, 11 pulg.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. s. n..
Sacristia [...] {590} Tres [quadros] de vara y media de largo, por vara de alto. Borrones de la Voveda de la Capilla de Palacio. Ydem [Corràdo] ... 12.000

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Corrado Giaquinto
04.04.2006 - 25.06.2006

Tha majesty of spain. Royal collections from the Museo del Prado & patrimonio nacional (La majestad de España)
Jackson MS
01.03.2001 - 03.09.2001

Update date: 05-08-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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