The National Exhibition held in Spain in 1860 bequeathed us great pictorial works of art, most of them belonging to the genre of history painting or historical realism; In this sense, we already analyzed in a previous entry the work en titled Los fusilamientos de los Comuneros and carried out by the painter Gisbert, one of the works that received one of the five First Class medals that the expert jury awarded to the participants. The work that we are analyzing today also received the same decoration and, curiously, it is also a history painting, which allows us to glimpse the admiration that this pictorial genre aroused at this time.
José Casado del Alisal (1832 – 1886) was born in a small town in Palencia and began his training as a child in the capital of Palencia before moving to Madrid and continuing to study at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts, which at that time he directed Madrazo. His technical ability allowed him to get one of the coveted scholarships to study in Italy and he also lived for a long time in Paris. It was precisely while residing in Italy that the artist painted the canvas that concerns us here, The Last Moments of Fernando IV the Summoned, also known as Los Carvajales.
Actually, the piece is a bit difficult to play if you don't know the proper historical context. Ferdinand IVHe was King of Castile between 1295 and 1312. The monarch's reign was always marked by conflicts with the nobility, so much so that his death was marked precisely by two noblemen. According to the chronicles of the time when the monarch learned that his private had been murdered, he ordered the Carvajal brothers to be executed for such a crime, who always denied responsibility for the act and that at the time of their death they summoned the king, telling him that he would meet with them. in the afterlife thirty days after his death.
Precisely the work of Casado del Alisal is based on this moment, when the monarch is claimed by the brothers in a ghostly apparition. The painter has placed the king in an exaggeratedly theatrical pose, half reclining on the bed while he puts his hand to his head as a sign of desperation. The brothers, Pedro and Pablo, have been represented in an upper area dressed in white tunics and, due to their appearance, it could rather be the representation of a miraculous apparition than a ghostly one.
Despite the decorations received, the work provoked some criticism, especially in the exaggerated attitude of the monarch that did not seem to fit in with the academic forms of the time. The influence that Madrazo had on this artist can still be seen in the color and composition.