Lady portrait. 1830.

Miniature. Gouache on ivory, measures: 5.6 x 4.4 cm / 2.2 x 1.73 in. Signed in the upper right corner: “F. Enriquez f(ecit) 1838 ". With its metal frame, vintage.

Three-quarter profile torso portrait. The lady wears all the luxuries of women's fashion from that decade of the 19th century: a black winter dress with wide sleeves and shiny fabric that the painter masterfully illuminates with blue reflections from the natural light of the sky. Over her dress a fringed pink mantilla, fastened with pearl and gold jewels that matches the necklace and earrings. Her hairstyle is also characteristic of the dating year: two thick groups of curls on the temples, with the hair parted by means of a part. She concludes with a bun and the classic Spanish tortoiseshell comb. Her torso and her head are directed to the right, while her gaze is fixed in the opposite direction, giving dynamism to her portrait. The neutral grayish background allows the colors and the figure of the portrayed to be highlighted. The painter signed in a very visible way, which shows us the value that the artist enjoyed in life.

Francisco Enríquez y García (Granada, 1771-1848), miniaturist and painter from Granada, included among the most prominent Spanish miniaturists of the first half of the 19th century. Among the most deeply rooted institutions in Granada, the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country created in 1777 the School of the Three Noble Arts: Architecture, Painting and Sculpture, later called the Royal School of the Noble Arts and in the middle of the war of independence , since 1808, "Royal Academy of Our Lady of Sorrows", granting titles of equal validity to the academies of San Fernando de Madrid, San Carlos de Valencia and San Luis de Zaragoza. In this institution, and in the competitions organized between students and former students, the name of Francisco Enríquez y García appeared for the first time. Also from its early production, the National Museum of Decorative Arts in Madrid has a miniature with a male portrait dated 1812. (1) The portrait of Gonzalo José de Vilches y Parga, 1st count of Vilches, executed in 1827.

From a distinguished student, Francisco Enríquez went on to occupy a hierarchical position in the Royal Academy after its reopening after the War of Independence, in 1814, and from 1819 to 1841 he served as director of said house of studies. They were very difficult years, with enormous difficulties that endangered the continuity of the institution, forcing its authorities and faculty to find other sources of income. The director himself made a living to support his family through the execution of miniature portraits, being a leading specialist in Granada society.

Regarding his painting, the collector and researcher Martínez Lanzas de las Heras, member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Nuestra Señora de las Angustias de Granada states: “The ladies with their silk suits, velvets close to the bust and a profusion of lace and gauze. In relation to the technique, the most characteristic note is the way to achieve the flesh with a barely perceptible stippling to achieve chiaroscuro and volume. His work almost always bears his signature, in very small print, located horizontally at the extreme right of the ivory, followed by the year of execution in cases where the format of the support is rectangular, ”exactly as our copy presents it. (2)



2. Martínez Lanzas, Eloy: Critical study of miniature portraits.


María Dolores Santos Moreno: 19th century painting in Granada. Art and Society. University of Granada. Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. Department of Art History. Doctoral thesis 1997.


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