The Spanish Wedding

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The Spanish Wedding
The Spanish Wedding
Artist Marià Fortuny
Year 1870
Type Oil on panel
Dimensions 60 cm × 93.5 cm (24 in × 36.8 in)
Location Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

The Spanish Wedding, also known as La Vicaria, is a painting by Marià Fortuny done in 1870 currently exhibited at the National Art Museum of Catalonia.[1]


The scene depicted in The Spanish Wedding is the signing of a marriage contract, in which elements are introduced that reveal his wide-ranging culture and his fascination and admiration for Goya. In this fictitious architectural space Fortuny brings together elements from different places, but also gives an absolute unity and coherence. Notable for their visual quality are the screen, the lamp hanging from the ceiling, the painting, the bookcase with its huge parchment volumes, the coat of arms on the balcony and the brazier, a prop he included in a number of works to balance the composition.[2] The central group stands out of the bride and groom, accompanied by a long line of witnesses, friends and family dressed in eighteenth-century garb and whose elegance contracts with a second group situated to the right of the composition, which represents the common people. Fortuny utilized his own family members as models, his wife, and sister in law, Isabel and Raimundo de Madrazo. He also used his friend, the painter known as Meissonier, Mrs. Malvina Colomer, his servant Arlecchino and some professional models.

Marià Fortuny[edit]

Marià Fortuny was the leading Catalan painter of his day, with an international reputation. His brief career encompassed works on a variety of subjects common in the art of the period, including the Romantic fascination with Orientalist themes, historicist genre painting, military painting of Spanish colonial expansion, as well as a prescient loosening of brush-stroke and color. Fortuny made himself particularly famous for his paintings in the refined, mannered style known as dress coat painting, done with all the prodigious technical skill of a virtuoso, representing subjects set in the 18th century. The Spanish Wedding met with great success in Paris, where Fortuny became one of the artists most coveted by the American collectors of the time.[3]


The genesis of The Spanish Wedding began in 1868 when Fortuny was obliged to visit the sacristy of the San Sebastian Church in Madrid on several occasions because of his wedding. On one of these visits the painter made a thumbnail sketch that would trigger the long creative process of this work. During the following months he did many preparatory drawings and began the first version of this picture. When in Rome he decided to begin the painting again and left the first version unfinished. The artist visited various Roman churches in search of elements that would help him create the setting of the composition. Fortuny presented the work to Adolphe Goupil on March 14, 1870. The Spanish Wedding was shown that May at Goupil's gallery in the Place de l'Opera in Paris and was met with a success unprecedented for a Spanish painter, and many of the critics were unanimous in praising his exceptional talents.[4]


The oeuvre of Goya nourished the creative genesis of a composition in which Fortuny felt the need to render a debt of recognition to this great creative genius. In The Spanish Wedding we recognize a set of characteristics that have an unequivocal Goyaesque affiliation. These artistic echoes automatically point to the figurative culture and visual language codified by this painter.[5]

Exhibition history[edit]

Year Museum or Gallery City Title Reference
1919 Palais des Beaux-Arts Paris "Exposition de Peinture Espagnole Moderne sous le haut patronage de la municipalite parisienne"
1940 Palau de la Virreina Barcelona Exposicion Fortuny
1974 Museu d'Art Modern Barcelona Primer centenario de la muerte de Fortuny
1974 Casón del Buen Retiro Madrid Primer centenario de la muerte de Fortuny
1975 Museu Comarcal de Reus Reus Primer centenario de la muerte de Fortuny
1983 Centro Cultural Villa de Madrid Madrid Cataluna en la Espana Moderna 1714-1983
1985–1986 Palau Robert Barcelona El cami de dotze artistes catalans 1960-1980. Barcelona, Paris, New York
1987–1988 Musée de Petit Palais Paris De Greco a Picasso. Cinc siecles d'art espagnol /1/
2003–2004 Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya Barcelona Fortuny 1838-1874
2005–2006 Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya Barcelona La Paraula figurada. La presència del llibre a les collecions del MNAC


  • Miquel i Badia, F., "El Arte en España. Pintura i Esculturas modernas", Barcelona, s/a., p. 315-317.
  • (Novas), "La Gramalla", Barcelona, 11/6/1870, 5, p. 4.
  • Rossello, V., "Fortuny. Apuntes Biograficos", Barcelona, 1874, p. 12.
  • Beaumont, E. de.; Davillier, C; DuPont-Auberville, A., "Atelier de Fortuny. Oeuvre poshume. Objects d'Art et de curiosite", Paris, 1875, p. 5.
  • Goupil, "Fortuny", Paris, 1875, fig. XXVII.
  • Sampere i Miquel, Sl, "Mariano Fortuny. Album", Barcelona, 1880, p. 52-54, 55 i 60-65, cat. num. 65.
  • (Nostres grabats), "La Ilustracio Catalana", Barcelona, 30/11/1880, 15, p. 114.
  • Yxart, J., "Fortuny ensayo biografico-critico", Barcelona, 1882, p. 94-97.
  • Miquel y Badia, F., "Fortuny su vida y obras. Estudio biografico-critico", Barcelona, 1887, p. 39-40 i 45.
  • "Exposition de Peinture Espagnole Moderne sous le haut patronage de la municipalite parisienne", Paris, 1919, p. 13, cat. num. 101 [cataleg d'exposicio].
  • Folch, LL., "El pinto Fortuny, home d'ofici", Barcelona, 7/1919, III, 7, fig. p. 604.
  • Ciervo, J., (Mariano Fortuny", "Hojas Selectas", Barcelona, 2/1920, 218, p. 101.
  • (Homenaje a Mariano Fortuny), "Mercurio. Revista comercial Ibero-Americana", Barcelona, 3/6/1920, 360, fig. p. 142.
  • (La Vicaria de Fortuny), "La Publicidad", Barcelona, 16/5/1922 (edicion mati), 15326.
  • "Catalunya Grafica", Barcelona, 6/1922, 15, fig.
  • Falgueres, L., (El nou Museu de l'Art Modern a Barcelona), "D'Aci i D'Alla", Barcelona, 12/1924, XIV, 84, fig. p. 223 (detall).
  • Guasch, F.; Batlle, E., "Catalogo del Museo de Arte Contemporaneo", Barcelona, 1926, p. 107, cat. num. 10.
  • Mestres, A., "La Vicaria de Fortuny. Notas historicas", Barcelona, [1927].
  • Fortuny i Madrazo, M., "Fortuny 1838-1874", Bologna, 1933, fig. 21, 22 i 23.
  • "Exposicion Fortuny. Catalogo", Barcelona, 1940, p. 67, cat. num. 223 [cataleg d'exposicio].
  • Folch i Torres, J., "Fortuny", Reus, 1962, num. 28, p. 142-145, 151-153 i 167-170.
  • "Primer Centenario de la Muerte de Fortuny", Madrid, 1974, s/p., cat. num. 815 [cataleg d'exposicio].
  • Valles, E., (De l'Assemblea de parlamenaris al 14 d'abril de 1931), "Historia Grafica de la Catalunya contemporanea 1888-1931", Barcelona, 1976, III,fig. p. 347.
  • Jardi, E., "Cincuenta anos de luz gas. Barcelona en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX", Barcelona, 1978, fig. p. 128.
  • Jardi, E., "Cataluna", Madrid, 1978, fig. p. 147, (Tierras de Espana, II).
  • "Cataluna en la Espana Moderna 1714-1983", Madrid, 1983, p. 176, cat. s/num. [cataleg d'exposicio].
  • Fonbona, F., "Del Neoclassicisme a la Restauracio 1808-1888", Barcelona, 1983, p. 198, fig. 198-199 (Historia de l'Art Catala, VI).
  • Riquer, B. de., (Burgesos, politics i cacics a la Catalunya de la Restauracio), "L'Avenc", Barcelona, 9/1985, 85, fig. p. 17.
  • "El cami de dotze artistes catalans 1960-1980. Barcelona, Paris, New York", Barcelona, 1985, p. 16, fig. 4 [cataleg d'exposicio].
  • "De Greco a Picasso. Cinc siecles d'art espagnol/1/", Paris, 1987, fig. p. 26 [fataleg d'exposicio].
  • "Cataleg de Pintura segles XIX i XX. Fons del Museu d'Art Modern", 2 vol., Barcelona, 1987, I, p. 408-409, cat. num. 897, fig.
  • Hempel Lipschutz, I., (Legendaire Espagne: myth depeint mythe danse d'un tableau de Mariano Fortuny au dernier Ballet de Theophile Gautier), "Theophile Gautier en sons temps. Butlletin de la Societe
  • Theophile Gautier", 1993, II, 15, p. 446-480.
  • Boronat, M.J, "La politica d'adquisicions de la Junta de Museus", Barcelona, 1999, p. 532-533, 588-589 i 738-745.
  • Donate, M.; Mendoza, C.; Quilez, F., "Fortuny (1838-1874)", Barcelona, 2003, p. 218-224, fig. p. [221], 225, cat. num. 76 [cataleg d'exposicio].
  • "Guia del Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya", Barcelona, 2004, p. 228-229, fig.
  • "La Paraula figurada. La presencia del llibre a les colleccions del MNAC", Barcelona, 2005, p. 125, cat num. 66 [cataleg d'exposicio].


  1. ^ Artwork at the MNAC website
  2. ^ Fortuny (1838-1874). Barcelona: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona. 2003. p. 523. 
  3. ^ MNAC guide, p.245 MNAC publisher ISBN 534534534534535
  4. ^ Fortuny (1838-1874). Barcelona: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona. 2003. p. 524. 
  5. ^ Fortuny (1838-1874). Barcelona: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona. 2003. p. 523. 

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