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Esteve, Agustín

Valencia (Spain), 1753 - Valencia (Spain), 1820

The son of María Marqués and the altarpiece painter Agustín Esteve Torralba, he descends from a family of artists dating back to the 15th century. His training began under the guidance of his father and continued with his admission into Valencia’s Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos in 1768. In 1770, he enrolled at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. His training was mainly influenced by three artists: Francisco Bayeu, Mariano Salvador Maella and Anton Raphael Mengs. It was the latter who had the greatest impact on the young artist; however, in 1775 Esteve met Francisco de Goya, the painter who influenced him the most professionally and who would be his close collaborator. His style of portraiture was largely inspired by Goya, although the personal and individual characteristics of his style make his work easily recognisable. From 1775 to 1800, Esteve was one of the most sought-after portrait painters by the Royal Court, second only to Goya in terms of prices. He received commissions from the most important families of the time, as exemplified by his relationship with the House of Osuna. During these years, he began his activity as a miniaturist, which Goya highly valued. During the reign of Charles IV, King of Spain, Esteve copied many of the royal portraits created by Goya for various public commissions, produced several drawings for engravings, and completed various religious paintings commissions.
The painter’s golden age culminated at the turn of the century when, in June 1800, he was appointed court painter and academic of merit at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos. However, due to the crisis during the early 19th century – the War of Independence, the accession of Ferdinand VII – and to the new monarch’s change in taste, the painter was relegated to the background. After suffering various ailments, in 1819 the king allowed him retire, and he returned to his birth city until his death. Out of the portraits held in the Museo del Prado, the most prominent are those of the thirteen-year-old Joaquina de Alcántara Téllez-Girón, daughter of the nineth Duke and Duchess of Osuna and future Marchioness of Santa Cruz, as well as those of the ten-year-old Mariano San Juan y Pinedo, the future Count Consort of La Cimera. In both works, the artist succeeds in reflecting the subject’s childlike candour, yet his technique, although very precise, results in heavier, duller brushstrokes and lacks the brilliance of Goya’s work (Aguilar Torres, I. in the E.M.N.P., Madrid, 2006, volume 3, pp. 1015–16).

Artworks (27)

The Countess-Duchess of Benavente (?) accompanied by Mercedes de Rojas y Tello, Future Marchioness of Villanueva de Duero, and her Daughter, María Asunción
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1797
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín
Manuela Isidra Téllez-Girón, future Duchess of Abrantes
Oil on canvas, 1797
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín
Joaquina Téllez-Girón, daugther of the 9th Duke and Duchess of Osuna
Oil on canvas, 1798
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín
Martín Antonio Álvarez de Sotomayor y Soto-Flores, Count of Colomera
Oil on canvas, 1798
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín
Queen María Luisa in a Mantilla
Oil on canvas, 1799 - 1800
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín (Copy after Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de)
Charles IV in the Uniform of a Colonel of the Royal Guard
Oil on canvas, 1799 - 1800
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín (Copy after Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de)
Cardinal Luis María de Borbón y Vallabriga
Oil on canvas, XIX century
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín (Copy Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de)
Mariano San Juan y Pinedo, Future Count Consort of La Cimera
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1813
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín
Portrait of a Lady
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1815
Esteve y Marqués, Agustín
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