National Exhibition of Fine Arts (Spain)
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The National Exhibition of Fine Arts (Spanish: Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes) was a regular event that took place in Spain from 1856 to 1968; usually in Madrid. These exhibitions were in the form of a competition, established by a Royal Decree from Queen Isabella II in 1853. It was the largest official exhibition of Spanish art.
It was initially divided into five categories: Painting, Sculpture, Engraving, Architecture, and Decorative Arts. Painting was always considered the most prestigious category, however, and Decorative Arts was only occasional. Although the decree specified that they were to be held biennially, this was not always strictly observed.
Origins and proposalsEdit
The process began when it was noted by many critics that Spain was underrepresented in most international exhibitions. There were also widespread feelings that Spanish art had become decadent since the old patronage system, supported by the Catholic church and the aristocracy, had disappeared; due in large part to the continuing Confiscation. Then, in 1851, the Parisian cultural journal, L'Illustration, ran an article on the International Exposition of Fine Arts in Brussels with the headline, "L'Espagne n'existe plus!" (Spain no longer exists).
At that time, the recognized model for art exhibitions was the Paris Salon, with its regulations, juries, formal critiques, public exposure, established hierarchies of prize categories and opportunities for acquisition. In a proposal sent to the Congress of Deputies by the painter, José Galofré y Coma, the need for establishing such an exhibition was strongly argued. His proposition was accepted and forwarded to Agustín Esteban Collantes, the Minister of Development. After the questions of organization and funding had been settled, it was presented to the Royal Family for final approval.
The exhibition was maintained in largely the same form until the 1920s, although the frequency became erratic; sometimes every two years, sometimes every three. There were also longer intervals due to political and social disruptions; notably the Spanish Civil War.
The original concepts and criteria slowly became obsolete, and the last exhibition was held in 1968.
Prizes and winnersEdit
The prizes awarded were "First Class", "Second Class", "Third Class" and "Honorable Mention". In the painting category, anywhere from 300 to 500 works might be entered. The other categories rarely exceeded 10% of that.
- Winners of the First Class medal in the Painting category
- Antonio Gisbert, The Comuneros, Padilla, Bravo and Maldonado on the Scaffold
- José Casado del Alisal, The Last Moments of Fernando IV, the Summoned
- Carlos de Haes, A Landscape: Memories of Andalucía
- Dionisio Fierros, A Pilgrimage in the Neighborhoods of Santiago
- Pablo Gonzalvo, View of the Transept of the Cathedral of Toledo
- Alejo Vera, The Burial of San Lorenzo
- Dióscoro Puebla, The First Landing of Christopher Columbus in America
- Germán Hernández Amores, Journey of the Virgin and Saint John to Ephesus
- Vicente Palmaroli, A Peasant Girl from Naples Named Pascuccia
- Ignacio Suárez Llanos, Sister Marcela of San Félix, Watching the Funeral of her Father, Lope de Vega, Pass By
- Carlos de Haes, Landscape in Losoya
- Pablo Gonzalvo, Chapel of the Constable in the Cathedral of Toledo
- Eduardo Rosales, Isabella the Catholic Dictating her Will and Testament
- Antonio Gisbert, The Landing of the Puritans in North America
- José Casado del Alisal, The Surrender of Bailén
- Pablo Gonzalvo, The Interior of the Courtyards of the Kingdom of Valencia
- Benet Mercadé, The Ascension of Saint Francis of Assisi
- Vicente Palmaroli, Sermon in the Cistine Chapel
- Alejo Vera, A Chorus of Monkeys
- Dióscoro Puebla, The Compromise of Caspe
- 1876: No First Class prizes were awarded this year.
- Juan Luna, Spoliarium
- Antonio Muñoz Degrain, The Lovers of Teruel
- José Moreno Carbonero, The Conversion of the Duke of Gandía
- Francisco Javier Amérigo, The Right of Asylum
- Vicente Cutanda, A Workers' Strike in Vizcaya
- Alejandro Ferrant, Cisneros, Founder of the Hospital of Illescas
- José Garnelo, Cornelia
- Luis Jiménez Aranda, A Hospital Room During the Doctor's Visit
- Luis Menéndez Pidal, The Empty Cradle
- José Nogales Sevilla, Santa Casilda
- Enrique Simonet, Flevit Super Illam
- Joaquín Sorolla, Another Marguerite!
- Jaime Morera y Galicia, The Coast of Normandy
- Luis Menéndez Pidal, Salus Infirmorum
- Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench, The Memory Lesson
- Gonzalo Bilbao, Sea of the Levant
- Gonzalo Bilbao, for an ensemble of related works
- José María López Mezquita, The Prisoners' Rope
- Julio Moisés Fernández (1888-1968), Portrait
- Álvaro Alcalá Galiano y Vildósola, The Path
- Juan Ángel Gómez Alarcón, Borgia
- 1936: The exhibition could not be completed, due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
After that time, the exhibitions became more sporadic and perfunctory, and information regarding the results is not readily available.
- Bernardino de Pantorba, Historia y crítica de las Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes celebradas en España, Alcor 1980 ISBN 978-84-300-2141-3 Online
- Un siglo de arte español: (1856-1956), Ministerio de Educación Nacional, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, 1955
- Gregorio Cruzada Villaamil, Juicio crítico de la Exposición de Bellas Artes de 1867