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Biography of Francisco Pradilla Ortiz
Francisco Pradilla Ortiz [Autoretrato – Francisco Pradilla Ortiz — Google Arts & Culture] was
a prolific Spanish painter and museum official who was born very close to Zaragoza in Villanueva
de Gallego on the 24th of July in 1848. He was held to be one of the foremost Spanish painters of
the last quarter of the 19th century, in addition to the last great master of history painting of the
century. He is known for being the artist behind many paintings such as The Capitulation of
Granada, Galician Washerwomen [as shown in Galician Washerwomen – Museo Carmen Thyssen
Málaga], Washerwomen at the River, and many more as it is believed that he created well over a
thousand paintings during his life before his death on November 1st of 1921.
He began his studies in Zaragoza with a stage designer called Mariano Pescador from whom
he learned the characteristic spectacular appearance that his history paintings have and he also
studied in Madrid in 1866 where he began to work with the stage designers and decorators Ferri
and Busato where he then entered the Escuela Superior de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado which
translates to Special School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving and he also attended the
Academia de Acuarelistas which means the Academy of Water Painting. In 1873 he won many
history painting scholarships along with his student Casto Plasencia to study at the newly
founded Academia Española de Bellas Artes in Rome where he spent 3 years in Rome and later
traveled to France to visit the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1875 and he also visited Italy where
he was impressed by Venice and the works of Veronese, Titian and Jacopo Tintoretto. Pradilla
later won a major prize in 1878 at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid; as a result of
this success; in 1882 he received the commission for another large picture on a historical theme
called “The Capitulation of Granada” for the Palacio del Senado which is now known as the
Palacio de las Cortes in Madrid.
During his time in Rome, Francisco Pradilla Ortiz was appointed as the director of the
Academia Española between 1881 and 1883, which allowed him to get to know the country
around Rome and many other places in Italy and he was also elected a member of the San
Fernando Academy. He was also a member of the French Institute, a corresponding member of
the Society of French Artists and a member of the Paris academy. He later returned to Madrid in
1897 as he was appointed director of the Museo del Prado after Palmaroli died in 1896. As
mentioned earlier, Francisco Pradilla Ortiz died in Madrid on November 1st of 1921.
Rincon Garcia, Wilfredo. “Francisco Pradilla Ortiz .” Francisco Pradilla Ortiz, Grove Art Online,
Question: Why was the artwork of Francisco Pradilla Ortiz such as the historical themed paintings
considered to be important? If he did not create historical themed paintings such as
The Capitulation of Granada and others more would he still have been recognized as one of the
foremost Spanish painters of the last quarter of the 19th century? What do you think was the
artist’s intent when he painted the Galician Washerwomen painting and other paintings that
were not history themed?
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prolific Spanish painter
Sculpture and Engraving
features of his historical
Water Painting Academy
The Capitulation of Granada
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