In the pictorial field, the 19th century was invaded by impressionist aesthetics, however, at this time other artistic movements had an outstanding force, although not all of them have had the recognition they deserved, in this way we can highlight, for example As in Spain, the painting of this time had a great quality and yet, it was not highly valued until a few years ago.
In the second half of the Spanish 19th century we find a pictorial genre that stands out above the rest, history painting,it is responsible for representing historical events that they often have a correlation with the events of the current time.
On this occasion we find ourselves before an oil on canvas of very large dimensions as was typical of the painting of this time – the canvas in horizontal format, is almost five and a half meters wide and a little over three meters and medium height – painted by the artist Antonio Muñoz Degrain and whose title is Recaredo's conversion.
Degrain (1840-1924) is one of the most versatile Spanish artists, his works fluctuate between the romantic style and modernity. Born in Valencia, Degrain began studying architecture and soon after entered the S. Carlos BBAA Academy to dedicate himself completely to the pictorial field.
Soon his painting became a great success receivingimportant commissions and even became director of the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid. The work that concerns us here was commissioned by the Senate of Madrid at the end of the eighties, around the year 1887. The idea was to commission four works for the Senate Palace itself that represented decisive moments in the history of Spain and this one was chosen as one of them. In this scene we are shown how Recaredo, the Visigoth king, publicly renounced the Arian religion to join Christianity. It seems that the scene must have taken place in the year 589, during the Third Council of Toledo, as it appears in the canvas.
In the main scene, the monarch, dressed in a spectacular reddish tunic and crowned by a diadem with a cross, makes his oath by raising his eyes to heaven and resting his hand on the Holy Scriptures presented before him by a cleric in submissive attitude. Next to him appears his wife, Queen Badda, who has also renounced her ancient religion, and completing the scene is the figure of one of the most memorable saints, Saint Leocadius.
The artist has paid special attention to rcreate an environment that could be true for the composition, thus presenting us with exquisite reliefs and tapestries inside the temple where the forms of Paleochristian and Byzantine art are appreciated. In the composition, the artist has represented the tactile quality of the objects bathed in a unique light that reminds us of the echoes of the schoolValenciana in the shine of metallic objects.