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Study for the “Portrait of the Queen Victoria Eugenia with mantle”

Estudio para el retrato de la Reina Victoria Eugenia

1907

Charcoal and clarion on continuous paper

202,1 x 125,2 cm

Nº inv. 15018

Upon becoming an internationally renowned painter and especially thanks to his labor as a portraitist, Sorolla gains access to the most select circles of society, even becoming painter of the king. This would happen starting in 1907, when the royal house commissions from him among others, the portraits of the monarch Alfonso XIII and the portrait of his wife, the queen Victoria Eugenia.

This drawing of the queen, one of the many preparatory studies which he produced until reaching the final canvas, shows the desire to present a portrait “in a Spanish manner” of the queen of English origin. He sketches out the skirt with a speedy stroke, focusing his attention on the mantle, which covers the head and falls on the shoulders, bringing out the hues of the fabric itself. With this element linked with the traditional Spanish attire, the fan in the right hand and the gallant pose, Sorolla gathers the heritage of many of the feminine portraits of Goya.

The monarchs posed in the exterior in La Granja of San Ildefonso for the preparatory studies as well as for the final canvases, offering in this way a modern image, remote from the splendor and pomp which traditionally characterize the representations of the royalty. However, the final paintings, produced to be presented before the British Royal family, did not get the expected reception in that country.

From that failure, the freedom of Sorolla when portraying the royal family will be limited, abiding by the conventions of the genre.

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