Luis Paret Y Alcazár | Charles III dining before the Court, 1775


Author: Paret y Alcázar, Luis (Madrid, 1746 - Madrid, 1799).
Title: Charles III dining before the Court.
Date: Ca. 1775.
Technique: Oil.
Support: Panel.
Dimension: High/Height: 50 cm.; Width: 64 cm.
Provenance: Lionel Harris, London, 1933; Acquisition, 1933.
Current location: Museo Nacional del Prado.



In this painting, Paret invites us to attend a daily ritual at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Spain’s King Charles III (1716-1788) sits at the table in presence of his ministers, ambassadors, servants and his favorite hunting dogs.
Paret captures the moment when he is about to drink from a goblet offered by a servant on bended knee.
The walls are sumptuously decorated with striking tapestries whose mythological subjects have been identified from left to right as: The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, Mercury and Herse, Diana with a Hunting Dog and Venus in Vulcan’s Forge.
These scenes may have been chosen to reflect the ceremony taking place in front of them, or as allusions to the king’s intimate thoughts.

They touch on subjects such as patriotism, embodied by Iphigenia’s sacrifice, which legitimized her father Agamemnon’s attack on Troy; love, suggested by Mercury and Herse’s shared passion; hunting, in the form of its tutelary goddess, Diana; and military honor, reflected by the armor that Vulcan made for Venus’s son, Aeneas, future conqueror of Rome. The Baroque** fresco on the ceiling shows two river gods among clouds that appear to be raining on the room.

Depictions of a royal person at table are infrequent, but at the court of Charles III, the king’s lunch followed a strict ceremony described by numerous foreign visitors of his time. Paret must have known those rooms well as a painter in the employ of the king’s younger brother, the infante don Luis.
The hall that appears here has much the same layout as it does today. Sources indicate that when this work was painted the antechamber was decorated with tapestries on the life of Joseph, rather than mythological scenes.
The ceiling painted by Raphael Mengs depicted The Apotheosis of Hercules, while the image in Paret’s painting more closely resembles a free imitation of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s ceiling for the throne room. Rather than reflecting the scene with exactitude, Paret seems to have added a subtle touch of humor. | Bray, X. in: Enciclopedia del Museo del Prado, Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, 2006, pp. 635-637.




Luis Paret Y Alcazár | Self-portrait of the Artist in his Studio

Luis Paret y Alcázar (February 11, 1746 - February 14, 1799) was a Spanish painter** of the late-Baroque** or Rococo period.
Biography
He was born in Madrid he first trained with Antonio González Velázquez and attended the Academia Real de San Fernando in Madrid, where he won a second prize in a painting contest in 1760, and first prize in 1766. He entered the studio of the French painter Charles de la Traverse, who worked for the Marchese of Ossun, the ambassador of France in Spain.
Unfortunately upon returning to Madrid, despite becoming a teacher in the Academia de San Fernando at age 33 years, he mainly received royal commissions to paint and engrave vistas of ports, the Spanish equivalent of vedute, and also of planned works of construction. 
For some years, he was banished to Puerto Rico, where he trained the painter Jose Campeche. He also painted flowers in still life and genre paintings called bambochadas for their focus on the customs of the underclasses.

Luis Paret y Alcázar | Maria de las Nieves Micaela Fourdinier, 1782-1785

Luis Paret y Alcázar (Madrid, 1746-1799) è stato un pittore Spagnolo**. Esponente della scuola madrilena, studiò all'Accademia S. Fernando e completò la sua formazione con alcuni soggiorni in Italia, dove arricchì la sua pittura con elementi del tardobarocco prima e del rococò poi, fino a pervenire a modi neoclassici. Trattò vari generi, ma si affermò in particolar modo come pittore di scene di corte (La colazione di Carlo III, Madrid, Prado).

Luis Paret y Alcázar  | Maria de las Nieves Micaela Fourdinier, 1782-1785 (detail)

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