Francisco Pradilla was a Spanish painter who lived during the last part of the XIXth C. and the beginning of the XXth…
Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz, who directed the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome and the Museo del Prado, was born close to Zaragoza in Aragon on the 24th of July 1848. He died in Madrid on the 1st of November 1921.
This painter, with incredible ability and a very well trained, academic hand, became known for painting great epic scenes depicting historical events. Of course, while in Rome he had the opportunity to study the great masters, the old masters, who, in fact are the great teachers of art.
His painting of 1877 titled “Doña Juana la Loca”, which he submitted to the National Exhibition of Fine Arts of Spain, won the Medal of Honour. Pradilla painted over one thousand canvases, mostly of heroic events of Spanish history but some about life in the small towns and villages that surrounded his native Zaragoza.
I see in his paintings perfect technique, great pre-painting preparation, meaning that he investigated and researched well before starting. He painted according to the standards and expectations of the academy. Meaning that he was an academic painter. He won many prizes and collected many medals, not only in Spain but also throughout Europe. In 1878 he won a Medal of Honour in Paris and in 1893 he won First Prize in a Munich expo.
I recommend a good, long look at the work of Pradilla. His compositions are perfect. His colours, his palette is well thought out and his topics are a history lesson, of sorts. However, I would point out, to those of you who like to look beyond the obvious, to notice how he paints women…
Your turn to reply. Did you notice the attitude, the placing in the composition and the expression in the faces of the women, especially Juana la Loca? Tell me after you watch the accompanying video of Pradilla’s works.
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