Portrait Elizabeth II, Madrazo

Portrait Elizabeth II, Madrazo
Portrait Elizabeth II, Madrazo

The romantic style with which the painter Federico de Madrazo executed his canvases and especially his portraits was one of the factors that led him to establish himself as one of the most outstanding painters of 19th century painting Spanish. It is precisely that elegant and refined style that earned him the trust of Queen Elizabeth II, from whom he came to make a good number of canvases.


Federico de Madrazo y Kunt (1815 – 1894) comes from a family of artists, in fact his father was the illustrious painter José de Madrazo and his grandfather on his mother's side was also a renowned polish artist. Trained at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts, the artist achieved a coveted position that allowed him to move to Rome where he was able to learn about the classical and Renaissance art of the great masters. In addition, the artist also traveled to Paris where he was strongly influenced by Ingres' drawing and delicate workmanship. Upon his return to Spain he achieved innumerable successes but without a doubt the highlight was his position ascourt painterduring the reign of Elizabeth II. With this, the artist ensured not only the realization of the most outstanding works but also an outstanding position in the artistic panorama of the moment.

The work that concerns us here is a full-length portrait of the queen in vertical format and made in oil on canvas. The portrait was painted around the year 1848 when rumors of breakingabout the marriage of the monarch with her cousin Francis of Assisi were becoming stronger and stronger. The couple had married just two years before and from the moment of their marriage, rumors of their relationship were a constant, perhaps in an attempt to silence these rumors, the realization of this canvas was considered, which was paired with another of the monarch consort.

Madrazo has been able to idealize the features of the queen without losing the naturalism and realism of the figure. The queen is dressed in an exquisite off-white dress embellished with gold lace, bows and even pearls. On her chest a small bouquet of flowers adorns even more the already exquisite outfit in which Madrazo has put all the delicacy and thoroughness of her art. The queen carries the royal symbols as a way to emphasize her authority, so we can see how while she holds the royal scepter with one hand, her crown rests on a soft cushion located on a nearby table. Her round face appears framed by her hair tied back according to the fashion of the time and the diamond tiara that crowns her

The background is the same that the artist used for other representations of the queen, a closed space in the palace, with a classicist atmosphere with sculptures of caryatids, variegated marble that adorn the walls etc Currently the portrait of Elizabeth II is part of the collection of the Prado Museum in Madrid.

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