Portrait of José de San Martín de Navez

Portrait of José de San Martín de Navez
Portrait of José de San Martín de Navez

The General José de San Martín despite the importance he had in the historical development of the early nineteenth century in Argentina, Chile or Peru, and despite his military career, the truth is that he was not especially inclined to have portraits made in which he posed for the painter. We must not forget that in his most famous image, the one in which he appears as a soldier and wrapped in the Argentine flag, he never got to pose for her, and we even do not know the name of its author, his daughter's painting teacher Mercedes.


Portrait of Jose de San Martin de Navez

There are few portraits for which he posed throughout his life, and curiously there is no record that he posed for any of them in Argentina. In fact, many of these portraits were already made during his second and final stay inEurope

There, specifically in Brussels, the only profile portrait was made, for which he posed in front of the sculptor and medalist Jean Henri Simonin 1824. Also in the Belgian capital, he posed for Jean Baptiste Madou, a painter and lithographer. At first he painted him dressed as a civilian, but this first portrait was corrected by San Martín himself, and after those modifications to his face he ended up dressed as a military man. A work from which he created the lithographic plates that were sent to Argentina and with which seals were made and engravedtickets.

And in between these two portraits, the general posed in 1825 for Jean Joseph Navez (1787 – 1869), a Belgian artist clearly attached to the neoclassical trend. In fact, Navez had trained years before in the workshop of the greatest painter of Neoclassical art,Jacques Louis David, and then had traveled to Italy, where he lived for 4 years to finish his training. classical

This style is well evident in the oil painting in which he portraysJosé de San Martínas a civilian. An image in which the physiognomic features of the character are perfectly recognizable, although the critics think that it may be a painting in which he appears excessively “beautiful.”

Perhaps because of his ability to make his portraits much more pleasant,Navezachieved enormous prestige in this field and created a workshop that never lacked work. Although he not only specialized in the portrait of great personalities of his time. He also dedicated himself to painting mythological and historical scenes. And to get an idea of ​​the fame and prestige that his pictorial production achieved in Belgium, suffice it to say that he was the director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels for many years, specifically between the 1835 and 1862.

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