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Francisco Bayeu y Subias

Distinguished religious and historical painter (1734-1795)

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Bayeu y Subias, FRANCISCO, b. at Saragossa, March 9, 1734; d. Madrid, August 4, 1795, a distinguished religious and historical painter. He first studied at Tarragona with Jose Luzan Martinez, and gaining the first prize at the Academy there, he received a pension to go to Madrid, where he entered the San Fernando Academy and had for his master Antonio Gonzales Velasquez. While there he attracted the attention of Raphael Mengs, then court painter to Carlos III. After returning to Saragossa, he was recalled, on the suggestion of Mengs, by that monarch, who put him to work on the country palaces of El Pardo and Aranjuez and on the new Royal Palace at Madrid. He also painted pictures for several churches in Madrid. Painting with, and presumably partly under the direction of, Mengs he became devoted to his style and is classed with his school. Don Pedro de Madrazo in the Prado catalogue speaks of him as a mannered painter only to be appreciated as a frescoist. In 1765 Bayeu y Subias was chosen a member of the San Fernando Academy, and became, twenty-three years later, its director and painter to the court. In the palace at Madrid are his frescoes, “The Fall of the Giants”, “The Apotheosis of Hercules”, and “The Conquest of Granada”. He decorated the royal chapel at Aranjuez, and pictured scenes from the life of St. Bruno at the convent of the Carthusians in Madrid. He painted many frescoes in the churches of Toledo and Saragossa, being assisted on the latter by his brother and pupil, Ramon, b. Saragossa, 1746; d. Aranjuez, 1793. His subjects at the Toledo cathedral are scenes from the life of St. Eugenio. There are fifteen works by the painter in the Museum of the Prado at Madrid. Among them are “The Coronation of the Virgin”, “The Ascension“, “The Evangelist St. Matthew”, “The Evangelist St. Mark”, “The Evangelist St. Luke”, “The Evangelist St. John”, “Olympus“—all studies for more important works—”St. Francis de Sales Founding the Order of the Visitation”, the last being attributed by some to Ramon Bayeu y Subias, “View of the Canal of Manzanares”, “View of the Paseo de las Delicias in Madrid”, “Luncheon in the Country”, a scene in a Manzanares orchard, and four sketches of sacred allegories for arch panels at the college of San Ildefonso. Don Francisco was an etcher as well as a painter, and executed a small number of plates.


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