Battle of Almansa, Ricardo Balaca

Battle of Almansa, Ricardo Balaca
Battle of Almansa, Ricardo Balaca

As we have already pointed out on several occasions, the pictorial world has been classifying the various pictorial genres for many years based on the difficulty that each of them represents; thus, for artists it is not the same to represent a portrait as a still life or a historical painting, the latter being one of the most complicated genres for artists since it is usually presented as large-format canvases in which not only the technical skill of composition and color management must be demonstrated, but also the artist must demonstrate a complete knowledge of the time.


The work that we analyze here also presents an added difficulty to its complicated position as a historical genre, it is a work that represents a battle and as such, there are a large number of characters that are scattered across the canvas and that They appear in the most complicated postures. Ricardo Balancas y Orejas Canseco is one of the most outstanding artists of the Spanish 19th century. Born into a family of artists, his first steps in the world of painting were at the hands of his own father, also a painter José Balanca y Carrión, although he would later train in the Madrazo workshop.

The work we are analyzing here is a large oil painting on canvas in a horizontal format that measures two hundred and thirty by one hundred and forty centimeters and is currently in theCongress of Deputies despite belonging to the collections of the Prado Museum in Madrid. The work represents the Battle of Almansa in the province of Albacete. With the death without issue of Charles II of Absburg, Spain was submerged in the War of Succession that pitted Philip of Anjou against Charles of Austria. The canvas represents one of the most highlights of the contest when, finally, the balance is declined in favor of the monarch of the Bourbon dynasty.

The atmosphere in the contest is chaotic but the artist has solved the composition well and has represented the scene with great detail. In the work there are three well-differentiated parts, on the one hand we can observe in the foreground a group of soldiers carrying a wounded comrade, in the distance we observe how the battle unfolds and in the left zone we can see a general of the Bourbon army giving orders to his men to lead them to victory.

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