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Last Moments of Ferdinand IV the Summoned (sketch)
Oil on panel. 1860
Casado del Alisal, José
Last Moments of Ferdinand IV the Summoned (sketch)
Oil on panel. 1860
Casado del Alisal, José

This is the first rough sketch prior to the definitive preparatory piece (now at the Diputación de Palencia) of the picture held by the Museo del Prado (P5728). It shows the king Ferdinand IV of Castile on his deathbed, where he is confronted by the apparition of the brothers Juan and Pedro de Carvajal, unjustly executed by order of the monarch one month earlier, and said to have summoned h

The Comuneros Padilla, Bravo and Maldonado on the Scaffold (replica)
Oil on canvas. 1862
Gisbert Pérez, Antonio
The Comuneros Padilla, Bravo and Maldonado on the Scaffold (replica)
Oil on canvas. 1862
Gisbert Pérez, Antonio

This is a reduced-scale replica of the original in the Spanish Parliament, which is one of Spain’s most famous nineteenth-century history paintings. The subject is associated with the liberal cause and depicts the execution of the heroes of the War of the Communities of Castile after they rose up against royal power and were defeated at Villalar, Valladolid, in 1521.

The Confraternity of Death recovering the Body of a murdered Man from the Roman Countryside (sketch)
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1863
Bertrand, Jean-Baptiste "james"
The Confraternity of Death recovering the Body of a murdered Man from the Roman Countryside (sketch)
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1863
Bertrand, Jean-Baptiste "james"

This is a preparatory sketch for the canvas preserved at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon (Les Frères de la mort dans la campagne de Rome, A 2975), which was presented by the artist at the Paris Salon of 1863. It shows the activity of the lay confraternity of San Giovanni Decollato, responsible in Italy for the bodies of the poor and the condemned.

Prince Carlos de Viana
Oil on canvas. 1881
Moreno Carbonero, José
Prince Carlos de Viana
Oil on canvas. 1881
Moreno Carbonero, José

The eldest son of King Juan II of Aragon and Queen Blanca of Navarre, Carlos de Viana was heir to both thrones, yet his father disowned him in favor of his other son, Fernando “The Catholic.” Because of his growing popularity in Catalonia, Fernando forced him to abandon public life, and that is the moment Moreno Carbonero immortalizes in this work. A resigned Carlos dedicates himself to reading an

Queen Joanna the Mad before the Tomb of her Husband, Philip the Handsome (sketch)
Oil on canvas. 1877
Pradilla y Ortiz, Francisco
Queen Joanna the Mad before the Tomb of her Husband, Philip the Handsome (sketch)
Oil on canvas. 1877
Pradilla y Ortiz, Francisco

This is the most mature and refined of the numerous preparatory sketches that culminated in the final picture displayed in this room, which sealed its artist’s reputation. It is dedicated to the history painter José Casado del Alisal, director of the Academy of Spain in Rome while Pradilla was working on the painting.

Christopher Columbus at the Convent of La Rábida (sketch)
Oil on canvas. 1856
Cano de la Peña, Eduardo
Christopher Columbus at the Convent of La Rábida (sketch)
Oil on canvas. 1856
Cano de la Peña, Eduardo

This is the sketch for the first history painting to be awarded the top prize at the first National Fine Arts Exhibition in 1856, a work (P5726). This piece not only reveals compositional changes during the creative process but also shows that the artist initially envisaged a work of Spanish Baroque austerity, although eventually he inclined towards French models.

Queen Joanna the Mad
Oil on canvas. 1877
Pradilla y Ortiz, Francisco
Queen Joanna the Mad
Oil on canvas. 1877
Pradilla y Ortiz, Francisco

Padilla painted this, his absolute masterpiece, at the age of twenty-nine, and it directly led to his international fame as an artist. It is the most superb visual presentation of a subject with which he was obsessed throughout his life and in its capacity to sum up all of the ingredients of its genre, it may well surpass all other 19th-century history paintings. In effect, the canvas offers the m

Execution of Torrijos and his Companions on the Beach at Malaga
Oil on panel. After 1888
Gisbert Pérez, Antonio
Execution of Torrijos and his Companions on the Beach at Malaga
Oil on panel. After 1888
Gisbert Pérez, Antonio

Previously considered a preliminary study, this is in fact an unfinished, reduced-size replica of the painting and an exact reproduction of it. Gisbert had produced other smaller replicas of some of his paintings, including The Communards and The Puritans. Here he reused a panel with another composition, as the X-radiograph shows. The texture of the paint on this support, which differs from that o

The Death of Seneca
Oil on canvas. 1871
Domínguez Sánchez, Manuel
The Death of Seneca
Oil on canvas. 1871
Domínguez Sánchez, Manuel

Emperor Nero accused his teacher, Seneca, of treason and ordered his execution. Scorning imperial power, the philosopher decided to take his own life. First he cut his veins and then he took poison. In the end, though, it was the vapors from a brazier that put an end to his suffering. The painting shows the moment when Seneca lies in the bathtub, surround by his weeping friends. The still-smoking

Burial of the Constable Don Álvaro de Luna (sketch)
Oil on canvas. 1858
Cano de la Peña, Eduardo
Burial of the Constable Don Álvaro de Luna (sketch)
Oil on canvas. 1858
Cano de la Peña, Eduardo

This preparatory sketch for its artist’s most renowned history painting (P4262) shows the moment when the corpse of the favourite of John II of Castile is publicly displayed after his execution. Luna was a figure retrieved by 19th century culture as a cause for reflection on the dangers of ephemeral political power. The final picture is also preserved at the Museo del Prado.

The Conversion of the Duke of Gandía
Oil on canvas. 1884
Moreno Carbonero, José
The Conversion of the Duke of Gandía
Oil on canvas. 1884
Moreno Carbonero, José

Seeing the cadaver of Empress Isabel of Portugal, the wife of Carlos V, has a profound effect on Francisco de Borja, Duke of Gandía, who almost collapses in front of one of his knights. The melodramatic vision with which the painter approaches this work is reinforced by the expressions of the other characters, such as the horrified boy, who may be seeing his first dead person, or the heartb

Episode after Trafalgar (sketch)
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1862
Sans Cabot, Francisco
Episode after Trafalgar (sketch)
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1862
Sans Cabot, Francisco

This is the sketch for the artist’s foremost painting, shown in this room. The importance of French models in his work is appreciable, particularly the influence of Thomas Couture, under whom he trained in Paris, and his procedure of privileging masses of colour over the definition of outline. Other clear influences are Géricault and Delacroix.

The Lovers of Teruel
Oil on canvas. 1884
Muñoz Degrain, Antonio
The Lovers of Teruel
Oil on canvas. 1884
Muñoz Degrain, Antonio

Dying of love is a theme often drawn from legendary literature, and was recurrent in nineteenth-century Spanish painting. Beginning with the story Juan Yagüe found in the Archives of the Moot Halls of Teruel, Degrain depicts the impossible love between Isabel Segura and the empoverished nobleman, Diego de Marsilla, which occurred in 1212. The painter chooses the tragic outcome of the two love

Episode after Trafalgar
Oil on canvas. 1862
Sans Cabot, Francisco
Episode after Trafalgar
Oil on canvas. 1862
Sans Cabot, Francisco

Following the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, a storm swept the Spanish vessel Neptuno onto the rocks of the Castle of Santa Catalina in Puerto de Santa María, where the surviving crew members took shelter. This canvas, with its unusual subject for a history painting, can be associated with the early years of French Eclecticism, of which Sans Cabot acquired first-hand knowledge in Paris throug

Execution of Torrijos and his Companions on the Beach at Málaga
Oil on canvas. 1888
Gisbert Pérez, Antonio
Execution of Torrijos and his Companions on the Beach at Málaga
Oil on canvas. 1888
Gisbert Pérez, Antonio

The finest work of all Gisbert’s production, this impressive painting is also unarguably one of the most beautiful of all 19th-century Spanish history paintings. Moreover, it is one of the greatest political manifestos of all Spanish painting in defense of human freedom crushed by authoritarianism and one of the very few cases in which a clear propagandistic message was directly inspired by govern

The Burial of Saint Sebastian
Oil on canvas. 1877
Ferrant, Alejandro
The Burial of Saint Sebastian
Oil on canvas. 1877
Ferrant, Alejandro

Under the reign of Emperor Maximilian, Deacon Sebastian was tortured and finally dumped in Rome´s main sewer, the Cloaca Maxima. The Emperor hoped that he would never be found there by the Christians, who would consider him a new martyr. Nevertheless, through a dream, the devout Lucina discovered where his body was and, with the help of her servants, carried his body to the catacombs to be buried

The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (in 1492)
Oil on canvas. 1889
Sala Francés, Emilio
The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (in 1492)
Oil on canvas. 1889
Sala Francés, Emilio

This scene represents an audience the Catholic Kings supposedly gave to the maximum representative of the Jews after they ordered the expulsion of his people. According to literary tradition, the inquisitor, Torquemada, burst into the audience and threw a crucifix on the table, exclaiming that the money offered by the Jew to avoid expulsion should not be accepted, and comparing it with the money f

The Surrender of Bailén
Oil on canvas. 1864
Casado del Alisal, José
The Surrender of Bailén
Oil on canvas. 1864
Casado del Alisal, José

With this canvas painted in Paris, Casado del Alisal reached his own understanding of Velázquez, bringing a new realism to Spanish history painting. But here, rather than reflecting history painters’ traditional fascination with Spain’s glorious past -especially the reign of the Catholic Monarchs and the splendors of the empire- Casado turns his eye to a much more recent case, evoking one o

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