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The Martyrdom of Saint Eulalia
Michel, Roberto
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Michel, Roberto

Puy de Velay, 1720 - Madrid, 1786

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The Martyrdom of Saint Eulalia

1753 - 1759. Marble Room 085

The saint is possibly Eulalia (292-304 AD), a Christian martyr from Mérida whose terrible torture on the order of the prefect Dacian included being whipped and having lighted torches applied to her wounds. One of the most venerated saints in the eighteenth century, Eulalia is recognisable by the dove which, according to Prudentius, flew up to heaven on her death.

Within the sculptural programme commissioned by Ferdinand VI to decorate the New Royal Palace in Madrid were thirty-six reliefs or medallions (of an initially proposed forty-six), most of them sculpted in Badajoz marble and intended for the overdoors of the principal gallery. The iconographic programme was devised by the Benedictine scholar and monk Martin Sarmiento (1695-1772). The subjects depicted included religious ones intended as examples of good behavior; scientific ones aimed at promoting knowledge; political institutions, symbolizing good government; and military victories, representing heroism. This ornamental scheme was approved by the monarch in 1748 and begun in 1753 with the participation of the leading court sculptors. In 176o, however, Charles III decided that the reliefs were too elaborate and some of them remained unfinished or barely roughed out. Thirty-one of them entered the Museo del Prado in 1862, of which six were subsequently sent to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.

Technical data

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Inventory number
Michel, Roberto
The Martyrdom of Saint Eulalia
1753 - 1759
Height: 85 cm.; Width: 127 cm.; Base/bottom: 17 cm.; Weight: 194.6 Kg.
Sobrepuertas de la galería principal del Palacio Real de Madrid
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Lorente, Manuel, Los relieves marmóreos del Palacio Real de Madrid, Arte español : revista de la Sociedad de Amigos del Arte, 20, 1954, pp. 58-72.

Plaza Santiago, Francisco Javier de La, Investigaciones sobre el Palacio Real Nuevo de Madrid, Publicaciones del Departamento de, Valladolid, 1975.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la escultura, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981.

Tárraga, M. L., Los relieves labrados para las sobrepuertas de la galería principal del Palacio Real, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 69, 1996, pp. 47/ lám.4.

Muniain Ederra, Sara, El programa escultórico del Palacio Real de Madrid y la Ilustración española, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2000.

Eulalia de Merida y Su Proyeccion en la Historia, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 2004.

Boletín del Seminario de Estudios de Arte y Arqueología, Boletín del Seminario de Estudios de Arte y Arqueología, LXXIV, 2008, pp. 203-208.

Azcue Brea, Leticia, El origen de las colecciones de escultura del Museo del Prado. El Real Museo de Pintura y Escultura, El taller europeo. Intercambios, influjos y préstamos en escultura moderna europea. I Encuentro europeo de museos con colecciones de escultura, Valladolid, 2012, pp. 73-108.

Azcue Brea, Leticia, Conferencia: Relieves del claustro alto del Palacio Real de Madrid en la coleccion del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2016.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, Escultura, 1857. Núm. 738.
738. Treinta y una medallas obaladas de medio relieve de mármol de Carrara que representan diferentes asuntos, muchas de sus figuras estan sin cabezas y sin estremos, y una partida por medio en que se ve San Isidro, pertenecientes a la Galeria principal de Palacio. Cuatro de ellas en desvaste. Largo 4 pies, 3 pulg. Ancho 3 pies.

Exhibitions +

Eulalia de Mérida y su proyección en la Historia
25.11.2004 - 31.01.2005

Location +

Room 085 (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Update date: 27-09-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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