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Vase of Lilacs
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1890
Francés y Arribas, Fernanda
Vase of Lilacs
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1890
Francés y Arribas, Fernanda

A painter and teacher, Fernanda Francés enjoyed success and public recognition in the Spain of the Restoration. Specialising in flower painting and still lifes, and supported by clear critical acclaim, she won a second-class medal for this work at the 1890 National Exhibition. The profound realism of her art attracted a broad private clientele who kept her works in demand for several decade

The Slave Girl
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1886
Fabrés y Costa, Antonio María
The Slave Girl
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1886
Fabrés y Costa, Antonio María

Condemned for stealing the jewels that hang in front of her, as is made clear by the sign over her head (“a thief ’s death” in Arabic), the iconography of the picture responds more to an erotic fantasy of the 19th-century imagination than to a realist narrative of slavery. Fabrés, one of the leading Spanish orientalists, was influenced by Fortuny, but endowed his work with a dimension of se

A Hospital Ward during the Chief Physician’s Round
Oil on canvas. 1889
Jiménez Aranda, Luis
A Hospital Ward during the Chief Physician’s Round
Oil on canvas. 1889
Jiménez Aranda, Luis

At the National Exhibition of 1892, history painting was definitively superseded by social realism. This was largely due to the prestige of this picture, which won the first medal in Madrid after previously obtaining the same distinction at the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris. Directly influenced by Jules Bastien-Lepage, Jiménez Aranda paints an attractive naturalist scene with no trace

The Human Beast
Oil on canvas. 1897
Fillol Granell, Antonio
The Human Beast
Oil on canvas. 1897
Fillol Granell, Antonio

Fillol presents an uncompromising image of female prostitution that denounces human exploitation and the personal degradation of the victim. Although critics recognised the painting’s audacity and praised its naturalism, the academic prize awarded to Fillol – the second medal at the 1897 National Exhibition – was not accompanied by any financial reward, and the work was indeed not bought until 191

Flevit super illam
Oil on canvas. 1892
Simonet Lombardo, Enrique
Flevit super illam
Oil on canvas. 1892
Simonet Lombardo, Enrique

Simonet´s work is based on a passage from the Gospel of Saint Luke (19: 41) which prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem: “Videns Jesus civitatem flevit super illam” (And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it). Simonet focuses on conveying Christ?s most human aspect, while his intention to offer a realistic depiction led him to travel to Palestine to see the actual Biblical

Workers on Strike in Vizcaya
Oil on canvas. 1892
Cutanda y Toraya, Vicente
Workers on Strike in Vizcaya
Oil on canvas. 1892
Cutanda y Toraya, Vicente

Social demands crossed over into Spanish art from the real world in the last decade of the 19th century. Cutanda was the most renowned representative of social painting, as he was awarded a first-class medal at the 1892 Fine Arts Exhibition for this canvas. In his interpretation, the unrest in the iron and steel industry is transformed into a cultured image whose size and rhetoric are those associ

And They Still Say Fish Is Expensive!
Oil on canvas. 1894
Sorolla y Bastida, Joaquín
And They Still Say Fish Is Expensive!
Oil on canvas. 1894
Sorolla y Bastida, Joaquín

This emblematic picture is undoubtedly the best-known work on a social theme produced by Sorolla in his youth. It is also an especially good example of how fully the artist became involved in a genre which, at the time, was of particular relevance in Madrid’s official artistic circles, where Sorolla was determined to receive his first public recognition. The depth of its meaning is probably indica

The Forage Seller
Oil on canvas. 1875
Villanueva y Vinarao, Esteban
The Forage Seller
Oil on canvas. 1875
Villanueva y Vinarao, Esteban

Sellers of zacate (grass for forage) centred much of the artistic interest in local customs of the Philippines during the second half of the 19th century. Their characteristic dress and appearance made them popular in prints, watercolours and paintings, and together with women dressed in the typical costume of the province of Bulacan, they became the most widely known local types during the years

Grapes of Spain
Oil on canvas. 1895
Riva y Callol, María Luisa de la
Grapes of Spain
Oil on canvas. 1895
Riva y Callol, María Luisa de la

María Luisa de la Riva enjoyed solid success as a still life painter not only in Spain but also in Paris, where she spent much of her professional career. Besides developing a characteristic way of representing fruit in her mature period, the painter had an ability to make her still lifes unusually expressive. The works painted in Paris, like this one, contain clear references to “Spanishne

Cleopatra
Oil on canvas. 1881
Luna y Novicio, Juan
Cleopatra
Oil on canvas. 1881
Luna y Novicio, Juan

In Cleopatra, Luna dramatises the death of the Egyptian queen, a longstanding and popular subject in European painting. As penned by the Greek biographer Plutarch, Cleopatra was discovered dead in her chamber by Augustus Caesar´s men, dressed in her royal ornaments on her golden bed; one handmaiden, Iras, was dead at her feet, while the other, Charmion, was on the verge of collapsing. Luna capture

The Blossoming of Love
Carrara marble. 1905
Blay y Fábrega, Miguel
The Blossoming of Love
Carrara marble. 1905
Blay y Fábrega, Miguel

A representation of the first amorous encounter of a youthful couple. In a style some have called lyrical, Blay transmits the soft warmth of adolescent figures modeled with exceptional realism. They are seated on a group of boulders alongside a tree trunk bearing leaves and flowers. The scene of tender intimacy is very beautiful and intensely emotional.The subject is somewhat linked to the innocen

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