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The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Election of Wamba as King of the Visigoths

Francisco de Paula Van Halen y Gil (13 March 1814,[1] Vic - 11 November 1887, Madrid) was a Spanish painter, known primarily for battle scenes and other historical works.



Long thought to be a nephew of the General and military adventurer, Juan Van Halen, recent research by Juan Van Halen Acedo indicates that he was probably the General's son.[1]

He began his career in Barcelona, then moved to Madrid, where he enrolled at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and studied with José Aparicio.[2] In 1838, he made his public début at the age of twenty-four with his rendering of the death of Don Álvaro de Luna; displayed at an exposition of the "Liceo Artistico y Literario".

After that, he found work as an illustrator and engraver for some of Madrid's major magazines. He also edited several collections of lithographs, including La España Pintoresca y Artística, El Museo Histórico Español and Museo Militar. One of his most popular collections, which was reissued in the 1950s, was Función de Toros.[2]

In 1851, he was named a court painter for Queen Isabel II and was elected a member of the San Fernando Academy.[2] His work for the Queen included the creation of scientific drawings for the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales and one of his two best-known battle paintings, the "Batalla de los Siete Condes" was commissioned by her. The other one, the "Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa" is on display in the Senate Palace [es].[2] Many of his other paintings are on display in the Royal Palace. From 1860, he was a frequent participant in the National Exhibition of Fine Arts.

His wife, Margarita, was the sister of poet and progressive politician, Fernando Corradi [es]. He was a Commander in the Order of Isabella the Catholic.[2] A street in Vic is named after him.


  1. ^ a b Introduction to Juan Van Halen, el oficial aventurero by Pío Baroja, pg. 33, @ Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c d e Brief biography @ the Museo del Prado.

Further readingEdit

  • Carmen Mañas Cano and Enrique Arias Anglés, "El pintor Van Halen en el Patrimonio Nacional (su vida y su obra)", Reales Sitios, #64, 1980, pgs. 21-29.

External linksEdit