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Casado del Alisal was born in Villada, the province of Palencia, in 1830, but soon moved to Madrid to take painting lessons from Federico de Madrazo, a very skilful teacher. Either due to his teacher’s mastery or to his own natural talent, in 1855 José was rewarded in Rome. And since 1862 he periodically exhibited his works in Madrid, and at last was renowned by San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts. In 1810, during one of his stays in Rome, Juramento de las Cortes de Cádiz gave him an important assignment to decorate the walls of Madrid Parliament, and when he finished it won him the encomienda of the American Order of Catholic Isabel.  In 1864 he created a canvas which turned out to be, perhaps, his most popular work - Rendición de Bailén - which won him a medal of the highest rank and sufficient success, as well as the right to participate in world exhibitions in Rome and Paris. In 1873 he was appointed the director of Spanish Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, which was established that very year by the government of Castelar, replacing its first director, unsuccessful Eduardo Rosales. And, nevertheless, he resigned in 1881, in the same year that he received the last of his most significant awards, Gran Cruz de Isabel la Católica. He died in Madrid in 1886.

Portrait of a Gentlemen

Casado del Alisal was one of the most significant painters in XIX century in Spain, and his style changed from Nazarene purism intrinsic to his younger years to sober and solemn academic formalism which reminds of his maestro Madrazo, but not so idealistic and sometimes very courageous, the best example of which is the terrifying La campana de Huesca (The Bell of Huesca), de 1880.


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