The Goya that nobody wanted to buy


The painting ‘Appearance of the Virgen del Pilar to the Apostle Santiago and his disciples’ is the new owner in a bid with a starting price of two million euros

The canvas “Appearance of the Virgin of Pilar to the Apostle Santiago and his disciples”, the work of Francisco de Goya and described as non-exportable, did not find a buyer in the auction that the Alcalá hall in Madrid held this Thursday with a starting price of two million euros. It is a large canvas (107 x 80 cm), which was part of the old Rosillo collection and descends to the current Madrid private collection, and for which a starting price of two million euros has been set.

It is a perfectly documented work, which the Marquis of Lozoya announced as early as 1951 in his article ‘Two Unpublished Goyas on Religious Themes’. The piece was featured in the Royal Palace’s 2012 exhibition ‘Goya and the Infante Don Luis the Exile and the Kingdom. Art and Science at the Time of the Spanish Enlightenment’. Subsequently, between 2013 and 2018, it was part of the permanent exhibition of the Goya Museum in Zaragoza, on loan.

Goya was an avant-garde artist, always looking for new expressive possibilities. He traveled to Italy where he was able to study the masterpieces of the art of the Classical era and of the Baroque masters and in 1771 he returned to Zaragoza and received the commission to decorate the vault of the Coreto del Pilar Adoración del Nombre de Dios . , in 1772.

After this commission, he acquired the prestige that would give rise to other painting commissions, such as the cycle dedicated to the life of the Virgin for the church of the Cartuja de Aula Dei in Zaragoza. At the moment, his trips to Madrid and his important jump to the court of Madrid are also known. The young man from Fuentedetodos, aged 29, is summoned to the court of Madrid by Antón Rafael Mengs, the first chamber painter of Carlos III.

From a technical and chromatic point of view, based on lively and luminous tones, we can relate this work to the cartoons with themes of hunting and fishing for the tapestries intended to decorate the dining room of the princes of Asturias in the royal site of San Lorenzo del Escorial in 1775.

The theme of the Virgen del Pilar was chosen by Goya on several occasions. There is a pencil drawing of one of the pages of the Italian Notebook (f.134r) and a small canvas, 56 x 42 cm, which he painted around 1771-1775, kept in the Zaragoza Museum.

Noteworthy is the good state of conservation of the work, the restoration of which was carried out in the workshop of the Prado Museum, just before the exhibition in which it was held at the Royal Palace in Madrid. The work cannot be exported.

Source: La Verdad


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