Mariano Fortuny y Carbo (Spanish, 1838–1874),
oil on panel, 10 ½ x 17 ½ in.; 26.67 x 44.45 cm
Gift of Francis T. B. Martin, 1995.36
Although he also produced religious and history paintings, Fortuny was truly celebrated for his scenes of Spanish and Moroccan daily life. Joining French Academic painters like Vibert and Meissonier, he combined their detailed descriptive approach with a striking colorism and spirited brushwork that derived from Spanish masters like Goya and Velázquez. Fortuny’s manner is reminiscent of the shimmering Rococo style and thus particularly suited to this episode supposedly set in an eighteenth-century artist’s studio. However, this atelier looks remarkably contemporary, filled with items — including a Japanese screen, Flemish rug, and Renaissance portrait bust — that nineteenth-century artists like Fortuny would have collected as props.