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Portrait of a Seated Woman
Vázquez, Bartolomé -Engraver- (After: Mor, Anthonis); Cruz Vázquez, Manuel de la -Drafstman-
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Vázquez, Bartolomé -Engraver- (After: Mor, Anthonis)
Cruz Vázquez, Manuel de la-Drafstman
Madrid (Spain), 1750 - Madrid (Spain), 1792-Drafstman

Portrait of a Seated Woman

1791 - 1800. Etching, Stipple engraving on laid paper. Not on display

This print is part of a series published by the Company for the engraving of paintings from the Royal Palaces, although it was only published after that institution was no longer active. The Company for the engraving of the paintings from the Royal Palaces was one of the Spanish Enlightenment’s major undertakings during the second half of the 18th century. It supervised the reproduction of prints of paintings from the Royal Collections and its early projects were carried out by Francisco de Goya, who reproduced some of Velázquez’s paintings in 1778, and by Juan Barcelón and Nicolás Barsanti, who reproduced The Labors of Hercules after the fresco that Luca Giordano had painted between 1777 and 1785.

On November 16, 1789, Charles IV authorized the founding of the Company for the engraving of paintings from the Royal Palaces in order to spread knowledge of the wealth of the Royal Collections in a manner comparable to other European countries. This private enterprise received royal protection and its partners were noblemen from Madrid, including the Duke of Osuna and José Nicolás de Azara, who contacted the French and Italian engravers charged with the task. At first, the artistic direction was handled by Manuel Salvador Carmona and Francisco Bayeu, who respectively supervised engravings and drawings. According to the collection’s Subscription Plan, the prints were published in series of six issues, beginning in February 1794. The price for subscribers was 288 reals per issue, while non-subscribers were charged 360 reals. An additional “100 prints without words” were pulled and these were sold at twice the price of the others (Continuación del Memorial Literario, intructivo y curioso de la Corte de Madrid. Vol. I, [August], Imprenta Real, 1793, pp. 257-63).

Flagging sales and increasing costs gradually weakened the Company’s economic stability, calling for increased private support. The poor quality of the drawings and their predominantly religious subject matter, as Azara argued, as well as a certain degree of disorganization—an absence of order or classification, as well as unequal formats—made it difficult to bind these prints or to hang them together in cabinets, and all this led the project into bankruptcy in barely ten years. In 1800, it was proposed to the king that Calcografía Nacional defray the project’s costs, and in 1812 the plates and other materials were deposited at the Royal Press. Finally, in 1818, the plates themselves entered Calcografía Nacional (Vega, J., Museo del Prado. Catálogo de estampas, Museo del Prado, 1992, pp. 222-223).

In all, 74 copper plates were engraved from a total of 95 drawings commissioned for the collection. Calcografía Nacional received 50 plates, including the 24 that had already been published by the Company and 26 more. The remaining 24 had actually been engraved, but the engravers had never delivered them to the Company (Carrete, J., El grabado calcográfico en la España Ilustrada, 1978, pp. 28-31).

Technical data

Related artworks

Portrait of a Seated Woman
Oil on panel, 1565
Inventory number
Vázquez, Bartolomé -Engraver- (After: Mor, Anthonis); Cruz Vázquez, Manuel de la -Drafstman-
Portrait of a Seated Woman
1791 - 1800
Etching; Stipple engraving
Laid paper
Height: 870 mm.; Width: 623 mm.; Height of the plate mark: 445 mm.; Width of the plate mark: 345 mm.
Compañía para el grabado de los cuadros de los Reales Palacios. Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1791-1800

Bibliography +

Gallego, Antonio, Catálogo de los dibujos de la Calcografía Nacional, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, 1978, pp. 77, n.38.

Carrete Parrondo, Juan, El grabado calcográfico en la España ilustrada: aproximación histórica, estampas de Manuel Salvador Carmona, repertorio de grabadores españoles del siglo XVIII, Club Urbis, Madrid, 1978, pp. 28.

Vega, Jesusa, Museo del Prado: catálogo de estampas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1992, pp. 226, n.1146.

Calcografía Nacional (España), Calcografía Nacional: catálogo general, I, Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, 2004, pp. 194, n.2100.

Inscriptions +

Antonio Mor lo pintó. -- Manl de la Cruz lo dibujó. -- Bart. Vazqz lo grabó. 1793. // Retrato desconocido, pintado por Antonio Moro, que está en el Real Palacio de Madrid.
Lettered in the plate. Front, lower area


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Update date: 11-02-2021 | Registry created on 13-05-2016

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