Alonso Miguel de Tovar

Higuera de la Sierra, 1678 - Madrid, 1758

  • Divine Shepherdess

    c. 1720

Alonso Miguel de Tovar was a painter of the school of Seville, the city to which he moved in 1690 to learn painting and where he began his career as an artist. His production largely consists of religious works, which clearly show the influence of, and his admiration for, the oeuvre of Murillo, whom he often imitated in both compositions and models using a delicate and elegant artistic language. Around the beginning of the 18th century he also embarked on a successful career as a portraitist in Seville, which gained particular momentum thanks to his connections with the court environment. In 1723 he was sent for to the palace of La Granja, where he worked as an assistant to Ranc in the royal workshop. It is likely that his arrival at the court was spurred by his skills at portraiture and by his fame as an imitator of Murillo, an artist who was greatly admired by Isabella Farnese. He was appointed court painter in 1726 after being chosen to fill the vacancy left by the death of the architect Teodoro Ardemans. He returned to Seville a few months after the court moved to that city in 1729 and accompanied it to the palace of La Granja in Segovia four years later. During the following decades he busily worked on religious paintings and portraits of both the royal family and members of the court aristocracy. He enjoyed a certain amount of prestige by the time he died in Madrid, although he fell into oblivion shortly afterwards.

His training in the artistic milieus of Seville and subsequent connections with the court brought him into contact with the Sevillian Baroque tradition, chiefly the art of Murillo, and enabled him subsequently to incorporate into his style the novelties introduced by the foreign painters, especially French, who worked for the Bourbons, in a similar manner to other Sevillian painters of the day such as Domingo Martínez and Bernardo Germán Llorente. He achieved an interesting aesthetic blend of both formative sources thanks to his versatility and ability to adapt his creativity to the demand and novelties of the day. His religious output can be considered to be a consequence of Murillo, although he established certain novel iconographic features such as that of the Divine Shepherdess, which earned him great fame and popularity in Seville of the early 18th century, whereas in portraiture he displays a clear evolution towards a more international taste closer to the French world and linked to the conception of the portrait d’apparat.

Trinidad de Antonio