José de Madrazo y Agudo

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Self-portrait by José Madrazo (oil on cardboard, 73.5 × 56 cm). Around 1840, Museo del Prado , Madrid

José de Madrazo y Agudo , also José de Madrazo (born April 22, 1781 in Santander ; died May 8, 1859 in Madrid ) was a Spanish painter , etcher and lithographer of classicism . He painted portraits, historical and church pictures and was director of the Museo del Prado from 1838 to 1857 .


José de Madrazo y Agudo studied in Madrid with Cosme de Acuña and Gregorio Ferro , who were both directors of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando at the beginning of the 19th century . Fernando La Serna , the Spanish ambassador to France at the time, became aware of Madrazo's talent and brought him to Paris , where Madrazo joined the workshop of the history painter Jacques-Louis David , whose pupil he became. During the Napoleonic era , he moved to Rome , where he was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca . He was imprisoned there for a short time because he refused to recognize Napoleon II as King of Rome after the city was taken by the French. In Rome in 1810 he married Isabel (Elisabeth), a daughter of the painter Tadeusz Kuntze .

José de Madrazo was court painter to the Spanish kings Charles IV and Ferdinand VII . In 1818 he returned to Madrid, taught at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and became its director. Madrazo was also the founder and director of the royal lithographic institute.

From 1836 he was a member of an administrative committee of the Museo del Prado , which opened in 1819, and worked on the catalog of the sculpture collection , which was expanded. The commission was dissolved in 1838 and José de Madrazo was appointed director of the Prado on April 21. At first he did not agree with his nomination, since the new job involved less artistic than administrative aspects, but then he became involved in the museum. During his tenure, Madrazo changed the opening times to the public in favor of Sundays and public holidays, had six additional exhibition halls expanded and commissioned a new catalog, which was completed in 1843 and described 448 pages of 1949 paintings. Madrazo had a large relief added to the main facade in 1842 and initiated the extension of the building to the south, which was completed in 1853. Disputes with the royal financial administration, which took influence on internal affairs of the Prado, led to the resignation of José de Madrazo on March 30, 1857 from his office. However, he remained a royal court painter.

José de Madrazo y Agudo started a family of painters; Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz (1815–1894) and Luis de Madrazo y Kuntz (1825–1897) were his sons, Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (1841–1920) his grandson, the universal artist and fashion designer Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871–1949) ) his great-grandson. He died in Madrid in 1859; the place of his grave is unknown.


The Death of Viriathus (oil on canvas, 307 × 462 cm). Around 1807, Museo del Prado

Madrazo's pictures, mostly executed as history paintings, are in Madrid, one in the Roman Quirinal Palace . A portrait of the German landscape painter Johann Christian Reinhart, unknown until 2010 , is in the collection of the Roman Accademia di San Luca . An example of Madrazo's classical style of history painting is the large-format oil painting The Death of Viriathus from around 1807 . It shows the 139 BC Lusitan generals murdered in an assassination attempt from within their own ranks and is considered to be inspired by the painter's patriotism. It is part of a series of history paintings about the expansion of the Roman Empire to the Iberian Peninsula and draws a parallel to the French invasion of Spain , which took place in 1823 during José de Madrazo's lifetime.


  • Francisco Javier Sánchez Cantón: The Prado . German Book Community; Droemersche Verlagsanstalt Th. Knaur Nachf., Berlin / Darmstadt / Vienna; Munich / Zurich 1959, p. 55–58 (French: Trésors de la peinture au Prado . Translated by Alfred P. Zeller).
  • José Luis Diez (Ed.): José de Madrazo. Madrid 1998, ISBN 84-87678-69-6 .

Web links

Commons : José de Madrazo y Agudo  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. a b José de Madrazo y Agudo. In: Who's Who. Retrieved January 21, 2013 .
  2. ^ A b Allison Lee Palmer: Historical Dictionary of Neoclassical Art and Architecture . Volume 48 of Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland 2011, ISBN 978-0-8108-6195-4 , pp. 146 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. General German real encyclopedia for the educated classes . tape 10 . Brockhaus, Leipzig 1853, p. 66 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. Madrazo y Agudo . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 11, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 49.
  5. ^ Sheets for literary entertainment . No. 41 of February 10, 1839: On Spanish Literature. Second article. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1839 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  6. ^ Francisco Javier Sánchez Cantón: The Prado . German Book Association, Berlin, Darmstadt, Vienna 1959, p. 55–58 (French: Trésors de la peinture au Prado . Translated by Alfred P. Zeller).
  7. ^ Anton Dieterich: Central Spain: Art a. Culture in Madrid, El Escorial, Toledo etc. Aranjeuz, Avila, Segovia, Alcalá de Henares . DuMont Schauberg, Cologne 1978, ISBN 978-3-7701-0812-1 , p. 86 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  8. ^ Dorothee Hock: Casa di Goethe, Rome: 'Views of Rome': Top-class new acquisitions and exhibition. In: AsKI KULTUR lively 1/2011. Retrieved January 21, 2013 .