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The Birth of the Milky Way
Sensi y Baldachi, Gaspar -Lithographer- (After Rubens, Peter Paul); Madrazo y Agudo, José de -Director-; Real Establecimiento Litográfico de Madrid -Printer-
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Sensi y Baldachi, Gaspar -Lithographer- (After Rubens, Peter Paul)
Madrazo y Agudo, José de
Santander (Spain), 1781 - Madrid (Spain), 1859
Real Establecimiento Litográfico de Madrid
Madrid (Spain), 1825 - Madrid (Spain), 1837

The Birth of the Milky Way

1829 - 1832. Lithographic aquatint, Crayon lithography, Printing on japon, Scraper on wove paper Not on display

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).

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Related artworks

The Birth of the Milky Way
Oil on canvas, 1636 - 1638
The Birth of the Milky Way
Lithographic aquatint on wove paper, 1829 - 1832
The Birth of the Milky Way
Lithographic aquatint on wove paper, 1829 - 1832
The Birth of the Milky Way
Lithographic aquatint on wove paper, 1829 - 1832
The Birth of the Milky Way
Lithographic aquatint on wove paper, 1829 - 1832
Inventory number
G003967
Author
Sensi y Baldachi, Gaspar -Lithographer- (After Rubens, Peter Paul); Madrazo y Agudo, José de -Director-; Real Establecimiento Litográfico de Madrid -Printer-
Title
The Birth of the Milky Way
Date
1829 - 1832
Technique
Lithographic aquatint; Crayon lithography; Printing on japon; Scraper
Support
Wove paper
Dimension
Height: 488 mm.; Width: 629 mm.; Alto de la mancha: 327 mm.; Ancho de la mancha: 437 mm.
Series
“Colección litográfica de cuadros del rey de España el señor don Fernando VII”, Madrid, Real Establecimiento litográfico, 1829-1832, t. II
Provenance
Madrazo Collection, Madrid; Daza-Campos family, Madrid; Acquisition, 2006.

Bibliography +

Páez Ríos, Elena, Repertorio de Grabados Españoles. Vol. III. R-Z, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1983, pp. 142, n. 2024-1.

Origen de la litografía en España: el Real Establecimiento Litográfico, Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre, Madrid, 1990, pp. 375, n. 223.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de estampas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1992, pp. 262, n. 1329.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2756.

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Update date: 25-07-2019 | Registry created on 06-08-2016

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