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The blind Musician
Bayeu y Subías, Ramón
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Bayeu y Subías, Ramón

Zaragoza (Spain), 1744 - Aranjuez (Spain), 1793

See author's file

The blind Musician

Ca. 1786. Oil on canvas

Ramón Bayeu, the younger brother of Francisco Bayeu, received similar training to his brother and won first prize in a competition organised by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1766. Beginning in 1775, he worked under the direction of his brother, producing cartoons for tapestries with genre scenes for the Royal Tapestry Manufactory. A skilful painter of frescoes, he was employed in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza where, along with his brother, he decorated three domes in 1781. He was also responsible for some of the frescoes on the ceilings of the palace of El Pardo. As a painter of religious subjects, he also shared some commissions with his brother-in-law, Francisco de Goya, such as the Church of Santa Ana in Valladolid in 1787. He joined his brother and Goya in decorating the parish church of Valdemoro in 1790, as well as in various religious institutions in Aragon and Madrid. Bayeu was much influenced by his brother´s work, on whose drawings he must certainly have relied on many occasions. He stands out above all for the coherent sense of reality that shines forth from his paintings, and especially his tapestry cartoons, which are full of vitality and reveal a delight in the everyday. These works are remarkable for their imaginativeness, for the skill of his scintillating brushwork, and for the verisimilitude of the figures and scenes he depicts, making Ramón Bayeu the most lively of the artists working in the Royal Tapestry Manufactory with the sole exception of Goya. The present canvas belongs to a series of tapestry cartoons executed for the royal residences during the reign of Charles III (1759-88). Their subject matter was taken from a repertoire of scenes from the daily life of commoners, according to the artistic principles of Anton Raphael Mengs, who was responsible for coordinating the activities of the various painters on these projects. In 1870, the tapestries that had been the property of the Royal Tapestry Manufactory, and were at the time stored in the Royal Palace in Madrid, were transferred to the Museo del Prado, where most are now housed. Some disappeared before they were moved, as is the case with the tapestries by Goya in Toledo (Ohio), Chicago, Edinburgh and so on. This painting depicts what had been a common scene for centuries in Europe: an itinerant, blind busker accompanied by a young boy who served as his guide but who could also help to attract an audience. Here the scene is completed by a little dog doing acrobatic tricks, and the three are working to earn a few coins on which to survive. The anecdote is presented in the foreground and is situated in a field, perhaps near where a pilgrimage or a fair is being celebrated, in which it would be possible to entertain an audience that was not very demanding and eager for amusement. The musical instruments of such groups were typically limited to a hurdy-gurdy and castanets (or slapsticks), which would serve to accompany the many ditties that such musicians stored in their memory. The performers would travel from town to town in search of a living that often proved difficult to make, for they depended on the generosity of the audiences who watched and listened to such trios as this one. Their clothing, modest and worn, is characteristic of the epoch, though it also seems almost timeless in its own way, to the degree that its sources may be found in the remote past, ever since the dispossessed have exercised their art in popular festivals and gatherings (Luna, J. J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 184).

Technical data

Related artworks

Boy with a Wicker Basket
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1786
Inventory number
P002522
Author
Bayeu y Subías, Ramón
Title
The blind Musician
Date
Ca. 1786
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 93 cm.; Width: 145 cm.
Provenance
Royal Collection, 1870

Bibliography +

Aguilera, Emiliano M., Pintores españoles del siglo XVIII, IberiaJoaquin Gil, Barcelona, 1946, pp. 20.

Held, J, Miche-Ange Houasse en Spainen, Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, XIX, 1968, pp. 185-206.

Held, Jutta, Die Genrebilder der Madrider Teppichmanufaktur und die Anfänge Goyas, Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlín, 1971, pp. 65 / lám. 37.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Morales y Marin, Jose Luis, Los Bayeu, Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Arag, Zaragoza, 1979, pp. nº54.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 44.

Robertson, Ian1928-, Los Curiosos Impertinentes. Viajeros Ingleses por España Des, Serbal.C.S.I.C., Madrid, 1988, pp. 69.

Morales y Marín, José Luis, Pintura en España: 1750-1808, Cátedra, Madrid, 1994, pp. 65 / lám. 37.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996, pp. nº5624 (Inv. cart. tapices).

Permanencia de la memoria: cartones para tapiz y dibujos de, Gobierno de Aragón, Departamento de Educación y Cu, Zaragoza, 1997, pp. 98.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Goya y la pintura española del siglo XVIII: guía, Museo del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2000, pp. 110.

La Musique et les Arts Figures en Espagne., Musee de Goya, Castres, 2000.

Confederacion Española de Cajas de Ahorro, Siglo y Medio de Ahorro en España, Confederacion Española de Cajas D, Madrid, 2003.

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 184-185, nº52.

Mena Marqués, M.B., 'Música y baile. Romances de ciegos' En:, Mena Marques,Manuela B. Goya en Madrid : cartones para tapices 1775-1794, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2014, pp. 186-191 [190 f.4.22].

Other inventories +

Inv. Cartones para Tapices. Núm. 5624.
5624. / Un ciego tocando la gaita zamorana con un lazarillo y un perro. Ancho 1,45. Alto 0,95, por el mismo [Ramón Bayeu]

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1933. Núm. 2522.

Exhibitions +

Goya y la corte ilustrada
Bilbao
14.02.2018 - 28.05.2018

Goya y la corte ilustrada
Zaragoza
27.09.2017 - 21.01.2018

Goya in Madrid
Madrid
28.11.2014 - 03.05.2015

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Siglo y medio de ahorro en España
Madrid
17.09.2003 - 31.10.2003

La musique et les arts figurés en Espagne
Castres
23.06.2000 - 08.10.2000

Permanencia en la memoria . Cartones para tapices y dibujos de Goya
Zaragoza
14.02.1997 - 06.04.1997

Location +

Room 094 (On Display)

Expuesto

Displayed objects +

Hurdy gurdy: .4.277.
La zanfoña está descrita con detalle. Caja en forma de ocho (forma de guitarra), con aros anchos. Se ve el mecanismo de manivela que acciona el tañedor con su mano derecha mientras que con la izquierda pulsa las teclas que acortan las cuerdas para producir la melodía. La zanfoña es un instrumento de cuerda frotada en el que varias cuerdas vibran por la fricción de una rueda enresinada (situada en la caja de resonancia del instrumento) que gira gracias a un manubrio. Las notas cambian al presionar las teclas de un teclado dotado de unas espadillas que acortan la cuerda melódica. La zanfonña común tiene dos o tres cuerdas melódicas o cantantes, de las que se obtienen varias notas (alrededor de dos octavas de un piano), y dos o tres bordones a los lados, que emiten una sola nota -generalmente más grave - (Proyecto Iconografía Musical, UCM).

Conocida desde la edad media, su época dorada llegó en el siglo XVIII, especialmente en la corte francesa del rey Luis XV, el referente de la moda en el resto de Europa. A partir del siglo XVIII la zanfoña vuelve a manos populares.

Castanets: .4.278.
Las dos castañuelas están representadas por dos mitades cóncavas de madera sujetas por un cordón atado en este caso al dedo central o corazón, que está adornado con cintas de colores, dando más vistosidad al movimiento de los brazos. El muchacho repica las castañuelas acompañando a la zanfoña. Con ellas Bayeu alude al carácter popular de la escena. Probablemente de origen fenicio y utilizados ya en el antiguo Egipto y en Grecia en forma de crótalos, este idiófono de golpe directo se asociaba en la cultura clásica a las celebraciones orgiásticas relacionadas con el culto a Dionisio/Baco. Están formadas por un par de pequeñas “conchas” de marfil o de madera y unidas por un cordón a la altura de la oreja del instrumento que se engancha en el dedo pulgar o en el corazón sin apretar demasiado. Se repica con los demás dedos. Hay una de sonido más agudo para la mano derecha y otra de sonido más grave para la mano izquierda (Proyecto Iconografía Musical, UCM).

En España se usaron en los bailes de salón de los siglos XVIII y XIX y en la música folclórica de esa época y posterior. Se conservan varias colecciones de castañuelas populares y de salón en museos y colecciones públicas, como la del Museo Nacional del Traje o del Museo de artes y tradiciones populares de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Bordas, 2000: 255-259).

Update date: 20-05-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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