Valentín Carderera

Valentín Carderera y Solano (14 February 1796, Huesca - 25 March 1880, Madrid) was a Spanish painter, erudite scholar and collector. He was named honorary court painter during the reign of Isabel II.[1]

Valentín Carderera; portrait by Federico de Madrazo
Portrait of Queen Consort
Maria Christina (1831)


He attended the Universidad Sertoriana de Huesca [es], where he studied philosophy then, thanks to the patronage of José de Palafox, studied drawing in Zaragoza with Buenaventura Salesa [es] and painting in Madrid in the Royal Academy of Arts, where his teachers were Mariano Salvador Maella and José de Madrazo.[2] In 1822, he won a grant to study in Rome, awarded by José António, Duke of Villahermosa.[1] He remained in Italy until 1831, travelling widely and creating sketches and watercolours.

Back to Spain, in 1836, he received a commission to make an inventory of the nationalised works of art from suppressed monasteries in Castile.[2] From 1838, he was a governing member of the board at the Museo Real de Pintura y Escultura. He was also a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, where he taught art history and, from 1843, he held a chair at the Real Academia de la Historia.[1] In 1873, he helped establish the Museo de Huesca [es] by donating paintings from his own collection.[2]

His most familiar works are portraits of famous Spaniards throughout history; gathered together in a large anthology called Iconografía Española (1855, enlarged in 1864), which constitutes his magnum opus.[1] In order to defray the costs of publication, he had to sell his collection of drawings and prints to the Biblioteca Nacional.

As a writer, he also contributed regular essays on cultural subjects to El Artista, Semanario Pintoresco Español, El Museo Universal and the French Gazette des Beaux-Arts.[2] In 1866, he edited the first edition of the Discursos practicables del nobilísimo arte de la pintura, written in 1675 by Jusepe Martínez.

As a collector, he was particularly fond of the drawings and engravings of Francisco de Goya and owned a large collection of them. In 1835, he wrote the first substantial biography of Goya, which was published in the journal El Artista.[1]


  • Catálogo y descripción sumaria de retratos antiguos... coleccionados por D. Valentin Carderera y Solano, M. Tello, 1877.
  • Iconografía española : Colección de retratos, estaluas, mausoleos y demás monumentos inéditos de reyes, reinas, grandes capitanes, escritores, etc. desde el siglo XI hasta el XVII, copiados de los originales por... Valentin Carderera y Solano... con texto biográfico y descriptivo, en español y francés, in two volumes, R. Campuzano, 1855-1864.
  • Informe sobre los retratos de Cristobal Colon, su trage y escudo de armas. Leído á la real Academia de la historia, por su autor Don Valentin Carderera. Imprenta de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1851 Full text online @ Google Books.


  1. ^ a b c d e Brief biography @ the Museo del Prado
  2. ^ a b c d Brief biography @ the Gran Enciclopedia Aragonesa.

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