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Roman military trophy
Paret y Alcázar, Luis
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Paret y Alcázar, Luis

Madrid (Spain), 1746 - Madrid (Spain), 1799

Paret y Alcázar, Luis See author's file

Roman military trophy

Ca. 1770. Wash, White lead, Brush, Bistre on blue laid paper.
Not on display

References to Antiquity are one of the distinctive elements of Luis Paret’s drawings, both in those specifically focused on classical themes, like the one analysed herein, as well as in those in which Roman motifs serve as ornamentation in other types of compositions. 1758 marked a turning point in the Spanish art scene; it was then that the Academia de San Fernando began to send its first boarders to Rome.

Although Paret did not enjoy official support – which he failed to obtain in the respective competitions against other artists – he was able to enjoy similar support due to his relationship with the Infante Don Luis. At the customary meeting of the Academia de San Fernando on 7 August 1763, the vice-protector, Tiburcio de Aguirre, was reported to have been informed that Luis Paret and Severo Asensio would each receive board and lodging granted by the Infante to perfect their painting in Rome. They would additionally receive letters of recommendation from the Academy addressed to the heads of the boarders, Manuel de Roda and Francisco Preciado de la Vega, ‘in order to be attended to and managed as the others who are at the Academy’s expense’. This form of financial support must have exempted Paret from the corresponding shipments of works to the Academy to which the artists granted board and lodging by the institution were obliged to make. There are no documentary records of what the artist drew or painted during his stay in Rome between 1763 and 1766, but this experience undoubtedly left a strong mark on his later oeuvre and expanded his expertise. Exceptional in Paret’s production due to its subject matter and formal aspects, this magnificent drawing has traditionally been dated after that period.

This military trophy draws inspiration from the Roman sculptural examples that Paret must have seen during his stay in Rome. Scholars have also pointed to the prints by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) as a possible source of inspiration, as many of them represent similar trophies. Nevertheless, series with these motifs had been published earlier and were widely disseminated, including the Speculum romanae magnificientiae (around 1550) by Antoine Lafréry (around 1512–1577). In any case, whether originating from sculptural originals or from old or contemporary prints, this trophy served to demonstrate Paret’s skill as a draughtsman.

First of all, the choice of the drawing support – a sheet of laid paper prepared with an indigo blue watercolour that gives it warmth – makes the drawing a luxurious object. If he had chosen a paper that had already been dyed during the production process, he would probably have achieved a much lighter blue without reaching the unique and special appearance that characterises several of Paret’s works. This choice, associated with the drawings of the Italian Renaissance and Northern and Central Europe, allowed him to work in a different way than usual on the blank sheet of paper. The artist drew directly with a brush and not with a pen, as had been presumed up to now. He initially drew the shadowy volumes of the background elements with a black ink wash, over which he superimposed other slightly lighter washes. With the tip of a fine, white lead paintbrush, he then drew the main elements by defining the forms and the illumination. The absence of preparatory pencil lines demonstrates an extraordinary mastery of this tool, where regrets or mistakes cannot be discerned. In contrast to the frontality of the models that may have inspired him, Paret offers a composition with different planes and inclined angles. Together with the precise impact of light, these compositional features give rise to a volumetric image consistent with ornate 18th-century taste.

Félix Boix – whose name appears on a small label attached to the support – brought the drawing to recognition in 1922. He owned one of the most notable collections of Spanish drawings, which has since been dispersed.

Matilla, José Manuel, 'Luis Paret y Alcázar. Trofeo militar romano' En:. Paret, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2022, p.74-75 nº 4


Technical data

Inventory number
Paret y Alcázar, Luis
Roman military trophy
Ca. 1770
Wash; White lead; Brush; Bistre
Blue laid paper
Height: 400 mm; Width: 220 mm
Félix Boix Collection, Madrid, 1922; Escoriaza-Boix Collection, Madrid; Angel Gobeo Collection, Bilbao, 1958; Luis Navarro Collection, Valencia; Galería Artur Ramón Art, Barcelona; acquired by the Ministry of Culture and allocated to the Museo del Prado, 2010

Bibliography +

Boix y Merino, Félix, Exposición de dibujos: 1750 a 1860: catálogo general ilustrado, Sociedad Española de Amigos del Arte,, Madrid, 1922, pp. 128 nº 401.

Gaya Nuño, Juan Antonio, Luis Paret y Alcázar, Boletín Sociedad Española de Excursiones, LVI, 1952, pp. 87-153 [149 nº147].

Delgado, O., Paret y Alcázar, Universidad de Puerto Rico. Instituto Diego Velázquez, C.S.I.C., 1957, pp. 289 nº118.

Hernández Perera, J, Dos dibujos de Paret en Bilbao, Archivo español de arte, 125, 1959, pp. 72.

Luis Paret y Alcazar, 1746-1799, Servicio Central de Publicaciones del Gobierno Vasco, Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1991, pp. 320-322 nº 41.

Morales y Marín, José Luis, Luis Paret, vida y obra, Aneto Publicaciones, Zaragoza, 1997, pp. 198 nº. 179.

Pinturas del rococó : 1690-1840 : de Luca Giordano a Vicente..., Arturo Ramón Anticuario, 1998, pp. 58-62, nº 11.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de actividades 2010, Madrid, 2011, pp. 48-50.

Museo Nacional del Prado, No solo Goya: adquisiciones para el Gabinete de Dibujos y Estampas del Museo del Prado: 1997-2010, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2011, pp. 58-62.

Martínez Pérez, Alejandro, Dibujos de Luis Paret y Alcázar (1746-1799). Catálogo razonado., Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica,, Madrid, 2018, pp. 86-87 n.8.

Matilla, José Manuel, 'Luis Paret y Alcázar. Trofeo militar romano' En:, Paret, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2022, pp. 74-75 nº 4.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2811.

Exhibitions +

COPIA DE - Paret
24.05.2022 - 21.08.2022

24.05.2022 - 21.08.2022

Goya and more
05.05.2011 - 28.08.2011

Displayed objects +



Update date: 08-09-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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