Biography of Eduardo Rosales y Martínez (1836-1873)

Spanish painter born in Madrid on November 4, 1836 and died on September 13, 1873, in the same city. Of very poor health (suffering from tuberculosis) and few material means, already reached prestige and fame before dying, without even under the age of 37. Rosales cultivated all pictorial genres, portrait, landscape, history, religious painting painting, the manners, etc., although its popularity and its artistic prestige are not exclusively due to its relatively scarce in what to oil paintings, artistic production and definitely finished works refers to (still story considering the brevity of his creative life, which just surpassed the three decades), but also to the image of artist Bohemian and failed, a result of their disease and their precarious economic situation.


Humble family (his father was Officer), was orphaned and without means with the death of his mother, Petra hens, in 1853, and his father Anselmo Rosales, in 1855. They held him and welcomed his brother mayor, Ramon, Member of the Corps of telegraphs, and his uncles, the Pedrosa Martínez. His cousin Fernando Martínez Pedrosa was a loyal friend and confidant throughout his short life, and married his cousin Maximina Martínez Pedrosa with the in 1868, giving him two daughters, Eloisa and Carlota.

Eduardo Rosales began his studies in the pious schools of San Antón in 1845, for later, in 1849, in the San Isidro Institute in Madrid. In 1851, at the age of fifteen, he entered the school that had the Royal Academy of fine arts of San Fernando in the calle Alcalá. There was a disciple of José Pedro and Federico de Madrazo, Luis Ferrant, Villamil, Juan Antonio Ribera, Luis López Piquer and befriended Raimundo de Madrazo, Vicente Palmaroli , and Alejo Vera. His academic record during his stay from 1851 to 1856 was very positive, and included obtaining the award of the specialty of figure.

After the completion of his studies at the school of the Royal Academy of fine arts, helped by his brother and by his uncles lived and won some money by copying official portraits and small works of custom. He practiced portrait drawing with a group of family members. The uncle Blas, signed and dated in 1856 (private collection) is perhaps his first portrait. This portrait of Maximina of blue and black (private collection) and the portrait of Pepita (whereabouts unknown) were completed in the spring of 1856.

He also collaborated with some recorded in the history of the monastery of San Lorenzo of the Escorial of Antonio Rotondo. In El Escorial they made a strong impression of the library ceiling paintings by Pellegrino Tibaldi. In a letter to his brother on January 5, 1857 said for the first time his desire to devote himself to the great compositions and history painting.

But already in February 1856, in the festivities of Carnival and at the age of nineteen, was manifested the first symptom of tuberculosis in the form of vomiting of blood. Tuberculosis would mark his life both artistic and personally, since it was the cause of his work is conceived in a small period of seventeen years. The look weak and consumed by the disease even made that the painter Domingo Valdivieso chose him as a model for its descent, and sculptor Vallmitjana asked him to pose for its Cristo yacente. In a letter to Vicente Palmaroli of on December 31, 1856, at the age of only twenty years old, wrote: "would have wanted to live, not to have ideas of ambition or to deploy Faust, but to savor the pleasures of a happiness that it had allowed me to understand" (cited by Juan Chacón Enriquez).

With economic aid, and in the company of his friends Vicente Palmaroli and Luis Álvarez, it undertook the trip to Italy in 1857. It passed by Biarritz and Bordeaux, where deeply impressed you picture the daughter of Tintorreto of León Cogniet. This painting and the Cromwell looking at the body of Carlos I of Delaroche, who saw Rosales in Nimes, were his first points of reference in contemporary history painting. Marseille he traveled to Livorno, and later had short stays in Pisa and Florence, to arrive on October 18, 1857 to Rome, where he lived with some interruptions for trips to France and Spain until 1869.

In Rome he first survived with the help of his brother and his companions, until José Piquer, director of the Spanish Academy, and the d´Epinay count caught you under his protectorate holding him with a small pension. Between 1858 and 1860, he entered several times in the Hospital of Montserrat, dedicated to the cure of Spanish nationals living in Rome. Then is it fell in love with Carlota, a neighbor that is related to another man, to which portrayed. Personal letters and his diary recounted his love, his jealousy and suffering that caused it their illness and the economic conditions of their Bohemian life.

His first work of your Roman stay is Tobias and Ángel (Madrid, Museo del Prado, Casón del Buen Retiro), started to 1859 and unfinished, among other reasons, due to be admitted to the hospital of the Spaniards. That same year he returned to Spain, and in April 1860 got, according to Xavier de Salas (1973), a pension for "intervention of the Marquis of Vega de Armijo, Minister of promotion, whom Vicente Palmaroli, requested it" and the Marquis de Corvera, influential politician, whose legal representative was Martínez Torregrosa, cousin of the Martínez Pedrosa in turn.

1861 are his studies of composition for a visit by Carlos Francisco I, theme that he had chosen for his first painting in history, but that he would later abandon believing himself "cold and indifferent", replacing it first with the theme of Isabel la Catolica in site trick, then by the death of Cava, and more late a Apoteosis de Católicos Reyesto finally paint El Testament de Isabel la Católica (Madrid, Museo del Prado, Casón del Buen Retiro), which ended in July 1864 to present at the national exhibition of fine arts, picture that got the first medal. This period is also copy bound by his pension from a fresh temples with the theme of Santa Catalina (La Coruña, Museum of fine arts) of the Italian painter Bazzi, known by the nickname of Sodom.

In 1862, he participated in the national exhibition of fine arts in Madrid, featuring the little girl sitting in a Chair, oil also called Nena (private collection), which won an honorable mention. This time is also Angelo, Calabrian boy, (private collection), who was entrusted by the Countess of Velle to couple with the former. Manners and sentimental realism in these two boxes embedded perfectly warmly in Europe for half a century, and was the prelude to the naturalism of the testament of Isabel la Católica. From this period are also the small portrait of Pasuccia (private collection) profile and its figure on foot (unfinished), called Ciocciara (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro).

The success of obtaining the first gold medal, got in the national exhibition of fine arts in 1864 in Madrid by his first painting of history, the testament of Isabel la Catolica, was followed by an international success. At the Universal exhibition in Paris, opened late on 1 April 1867, he received the first gold medal and the Legion of honour with this picture.

The innovation of the testament of Isabel la Catolica consisted of creating a comparatively less rhetorical environment than hitherto practised in history painting. It was so novel that created a controversy in Madrid, giving fame to Rosales as one of the representatives of the new generation of painters, i.e. one of the first naturalists. Studies and sketches preserved for this picture indeed reveal the abandonment of the composition and the forms of the romantic Purism in favour of the realization of a natural representation-based historical scene, already just with certain allusions of romantic feeling.

In 1865, he traveled to the Pyrenees, Panticosa, due to his illness, and that same year went to the official exhibition in Paris, where the Olympia and the Christ crowned with thorns by Manetwere exposed with scandal.

Artistic recognition achieved with the will of Isabel la Catolica became principals, and Rosales had more official and private commissions that could actually meet. Anyway, he did not cling to a genre determined, despite having shown his artistic ability in history painting. From 1865, he carried out a large number of portraits. From this period date the Duke of Fernán Núñez (private collection), portraits of the family of count Manuel de Villena and Álvarez (private collection) and portraits of the daughters of the Marquis of Corvera (private collection), which are technically inspired by the portraits of Velázquez. Proof of its artistic value in all genres is the naked mile of 1868 (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro).

In 1868 he came to Madrid to marry his cousin, Maximina Martínez Pedrosa, with whom he had two daughters. The first, Eloisa, died shortly after birth (as it can be seen in drawing portrait of Eloisa dead, on January 8, 1872, private collection; and the picture first steps, private collection; which represents Eloisa with his wife Maximina), while Charlotte, which would be also painter, hardly knew his father by dying it in 1873.

1868 are the portrait of his wife Maximina Martínez Pedrosa (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro) and his aunt María Antonia Martínez Pedrosa (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro). This time seem to be also the portraits of the daughter of Carderera (private collection), the violinist Pinelli (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro) and the unfinished picture of history Doña Juana la Loca in the Castillo de Illescas (private collection). From 1869 he was installed definitively in Madrid, and is more than likely that it was in its new Studio in the 21 Liberty Street where concluded the death of Lucretia (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro) and also the delivery of Blanche de Navarre to the Captal de Buch, the presentation of Don Juan de Austria to Carlos V (Madrid(, Museo del Prado, a Cason del Buen Retiro) and the portrait of Concepcion Serrano, daughter of the Duke of la Torre and future Countess of Santovenia (Valencia, Museum of fine arts), also known as La Niña Rosa. These pictures were presented together at the national exhibition of fine arts of 1871 in Madrid.

Presentación of don Juan of Austria to Carlos V in Yuste. Rosales.

It is particularly important to the evolution of the death of Lucretia by the reception he received, when it was finally presented in the national exhibition. The news of having been awarded in Paris by his will of Isabel the Catholic had reached le Rosales through a telegram of his friends Martín Rico and Raimundo Madrazo's April 30, 1867. In his letter of reply Rosales mentioned working on a painting with the theme of the death of Lucretia, a picture that, by its action, drama and movement caused her many problems: ' the difficulties of this [the death of Lucretia] are infinitely greater than those of another [the will of Isabel la Catolica], in which I could study them calmly, because the figures were all in perfect rest ", and this all in action and an immense difficulty; the Group of the father and the husband dying Lucrecia in her arms, holding is terrible, because in the natural it I can't see more than three or four minutes." (Cited by Xavier de Salas, 1973). But the first mention of this picture already dates from the year 1865 when Rosales told his cousin Fernando Martínez Pedrosa that he wanted a painting of the death of Lucretia. Through a letter from April 1866 to Martín Rico know that Rosales had been at the time of the award of the gold medal at the Universal exhibition in Paris already at least a year working on this picture, but said to have it ready for may of this year. Finally, and both for health reasons and as by pictorial difficulties, which he recounted in several letters, failed to finish it until 1869 and submit it to the national exhibition of fine arts in the year 1871, i.e. after having been six years occupied with the idea and the realization of the theme. For this reason, it is even more paradoxical that one of the most repeated criticisms that received this painting outside that box seems an unfinished work.

While the death of Lucretia would be the first medal of the academic jury, critics and, through them, also the public at large were fierce with the picture and the painter, claiming that the picture seem unfinished. The universal rejection of this chart reflects very well the bewilderment that produced the abandonment of academic finish in the art of Rosales in favour of a purely pictorial values emancipation, and is essential to explain the creative tension in his work.

Rosales reaction to these criticisms, from his point of view completely unjustified, was a letter, which expressed carefully the vicissitudes of the elaboration of the box to subsequently write an aesthetic justification for it: "according to most my picture is a picture that is not concluded and therefore a defective work worthy of censure;" I agree in part, but not in all, picture is not finished, but the picture is done, if it is missing to make a foot, a hand, a piece of cloth, picture is not less so and I will prove it. Is the duty of a critical stand on the surface of a work and see what appears, or should penetrate inside and rummage with wise discernment qualities that can not be appreciated by the majority of the people, in general little versed in this kind of judgments? [...] criticism must penetrate into a work and examine if its author has proposed something in it and if you got it, if there is a thought on it, and if this can be seen in his work even vaguely be. Most of those who have said that my box was not concluded, was a sketch, making display of resourcefulness etc., have not said nothing, absolutely nothing. Both will be accusing Rafael little colorist or Rubens wrong in the drawing [...] A piece of the character of the presented by me is not a picture of cabinet which has to be exquisitely executed that seduce in sight, is a work print and vigorous and energetic impression that must first of all speak to the soul and not the meaning; as well, do any of the critics lambasting her in this field? I understand that not and here which have repeated in all the tones that my picture was a sketch [...] my box is a box of printing, the scene is dramatic, my greatest desire is that the box would shudder, if it were possible to have [in] high degree, from the first moment, the emotion of the terrible, I wanted first of all that in my work palpitase the drama in the last corner of the box, AI [sic] the vehemence in the making, execution scruffy and brutal, I believe that with an exquisite execution picture would not be what it should be, this is my opinion, this is my way of thinking [...]. (Cited by Xavier de Salas, 1973)

In parallel with the disappointment by critics that had disqualified what for the it had been his masterpiece, Rosales disease escalated from 1871, and for these reasons had to spend long periods in the field, especially in Murcia. There he discovered the art of the landscape and made beautiful and simple sketches of intense luminosity, but also traditional paintings of steers for sale of 1872 (private collection), type Murciano (private collection) and horses (private collection).

Already in 1871 or shortly after Rosales had been commissioned by the Marquis de Portugalete to decorate his Palace Ballroom in the calle Alcalá. Met the custom painting the ceiling with an allegory of music (destroyed). This custom was followed by another, which was the restored the Church of Santo Tomás de Madrid, known as St. Cross. It was the representation of the four evangelists in supernatural size to be placed in the pendentives of the dome of the Church. Rosales made several studies and began to paint the evangelists, but he could not stop them.

In 1873 he was appointed director of the Prado Museum, but for reasons of health he had to reject the charge. It was also proposed as director of the Academy of Spain in Rome, news he received in Panticosa, but did not occupy this Yes accepted address because he died, after having returned to Madrid, on September 13, 1873, the same year of his appointment.

His friends organized the first posthumous exhibition this year in Madrid silverwork of Martínez, which brought together 34 works.


The Catalogue Raisonné of his works, published on the occasion of the exhibition of the commemoration of the centenary of his death in 1973, collected 54 paintings in oil and 235 drawings and watercolors. Between all of his oils, there is little more than one dozen of pictures that are not portraits or copies of other masters, and his great ambition (being a painter of history) only there is half a dozen samples.

Although he himself deemed a realistic painter (which was rather in the technical sense), its evolution is marked by the passage of a concept romantic, next to nazareno sentimentality, as seen in the Tobias and the Ángel (Madrid, Museo del Prado, Casón del Buen Retiro), who began painting five years later to 1859, towards other more realisticWhen he painted the will of Isabel the Catholic (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro). The composition of the pictures of Roses is very classic with few variations, and maintains a conventional repertoire. Although later was he wanted to see contemporary critics as an Impressionist avant lettre (Juan Chacon Enriquez, 1926), was set up more in the anecdotal, naturalism, and the bocetismo of his paintings, opining that it followed the path of Velázquez. Characteristic for his entire work is the search for a synthetic, based on the construction of masses and resolute way using free color, which sometimes leads to fragmentation and the bocetismo. Always dominate the plastic values on the shelf. Born in the same year of the Disentailment of Mendizábal and died about to begin the restoration, his painting shows the influence of El Greco, Velázquez and Goya, and is closely linked to the French painting of the second empire.


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Exhibition catalogues

National exhibition of fine arts. Madrid, Ministerio de Fomento, 1862. National exhibition of fine arts. Madrid, Ministerio de Fomento, 1984. Aragonese exhibition of 1868. Zaragoza, Board of Directors, 1868. National exhibition of fine arts. Madrid, Ministerio de Fomento, 1871. Exhibition of paintings by D. Eduardo Rosales, arranged by the testamentaría of it in halls of Mr Bösch. Madrid, 1873. Pictures, drawings, prints, photographs, armor, furniture, antique and other effects of the testamentaría of D. Eduardo Rosales. Madrid, Imprenta instruction and recreation, 1873. Art exhibition for the benefit of the families of the shipwreck of the Queen Regent. Madrid, Palacio Anglada, 1895. The works of the painter Eduardo Rosales exposed in the Ministry of public instruction and fine arts. Madrid, 1902. Exhibition of portraits. Barcelona, 1910. Exhibition of paintings, sculpture and architecture. La Coruña, Commission of Fiestas of the excmo. City Council and the society of friends of La Coruña, 1912. Exhibition of portraits of children in Spain. Madrid, society Spanish of friends of the Arte-Imprenta of the Ministry of marine, 1925. Rosales, the centenary exhibition. Madrid, National Museum of modern art, 1939. Exhibition Eduardo Rosales. Madrid, Salon Vilches, 1942. Exhibition of self-portraits of Spanish painters. 1800-1943 Madrid, National Museum of modern art. Exhibition of exemplary portraits. 18th and 19th centuries. Madrid Collections. Madrid, National Museum of modern art, 1946 Spanish antique painting, 19th century. Madrid, Sala Vilches, 1948. Exhibition of sketches, studies for paintings and sculptures (16th-19th centuries). Madrid, Sociedad Española de Amigos de Arte, Madrid, 1949. Goya exhibition and his time. Madrid, selections of art, Vilches, 1951. Exhibition of Elizabethan painting (1830-1870). Madrid, Spanish society of friends of art, 1951. Exhibition of painting by Eduardo Rosales. Madrid, Club Urbis, 1959. Exhibition tribute to Eduardo Rosales. Madrid, Najera, 1963-1964. Exhibition Le Portrait anglais du XIVe au XIXe Siècle. Brussels, Palais des Beaux Arts, 1969-70. Exhibition of Spanish art. Tokyo and Kyoto, National Museum and Municipal Museum, 1970. Exhibition of drawings by Rosales. Toledo, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, Palacio de Fuensalida, 1971.