Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta

Rome, 1841 - Versalles, 1920

  • The Reading (Aline Masson)

    c. 1880-1885
  • Model Making Mischief

    c. 1885
  • Leaving the Masked Ball

    c. 1885

Born in Rome on 24 July 1841 and christened at the church of San Carlino alle Quatre Fontane, Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta was a pupil of his father Federico and his grandfather José de Madrazo. He also studied at the San Fernando Academy under Carlos Luis Ribera and Carlos de Haes, among others. In 1862 he took up residence in Paris, where he was a pupil of the painter Léon Coignet. Throughout his lifetime he took part in a variety of exhibitions, although he never needed to submit works to the National Exhibitions in Madrid as he enjoyed huge prestige from a very early age owing to his surname and, above all, his outstanding painting skills.

Madrazo produced a few history paintings, such as the Cortes de 1834, for the palace of Queen María Cristina of Bourbon in Paris, and a huge number of paintings of interiors and genre scenes for the international market in an impeccable précieux style influenced by his brother-in-law Mariano Fortuny. As a young man he was even entrusted with the fresco decoration for the façades of the church of Las Calatravas in Madrid, which has practically disappeared now. He was also one of the most accomplished portraitists of his generation and a worthy successor of his father Federico de Madrazo. His style has a touch of painstaking, elegant realism that is sometimes frivolous but executed with an irresistible decorative instinct that was the key to his success with the bourgeois clientele of his day, and always coupled with an absolute mastery of painterly devices and a delicate, highly refined palette.

Madrazo’s oeuvre enjoyed great recognition in France, where he won a first-place medal and was officially decorated with the Legion of Honour award for his participation in the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889, as well as in the United States and Argentina, to which he travelled on several occasions.

He died in Versailles on 15 September 1920.

José Luis Díez