Joaquín Espalter y Rull

Joaquim Espalter i Rull or, in Spanish, Joaquín Espalter y Rull (September 30 1809, Sitges – 16 January 1880, Madrid) was a Catalan painter who spent most of his career in Madrid; known primarily for portraits and historical scenes.

Born in Sitges on October 8, 1809, he was the son of the merchant Francesc Espalter i Tolrà and Rosa Rull i Camarasa. His birth was totally accidental, since his parents were from Barcelona, ​​but had settled temporarily In Sitges fleeing from the French War When he returned to Barcelona, ​​he studied at the schoolchildren of Sant Antoni and was later sent to Montpellier, where he studied business (1822). Between 1823 and 1828, he lived again in the city of Barcelona and devoted himself fully To painting, attending the Llotja School

After a brief stay at the School of Noble Arts in Marseille, at the end of 1829 he moved to Paris and was a disciple of Antoine-Jean Gros, from whom he learned the technique of color. Starting in 1833 he settled in Rome, where he was part of the group of Catalan Nazarenes, along with Pau Milà i Fontanals, Claudi Lorenzale and Pelegrí Clavé (contact with Natzarenism took place through Tommaso Minardi) Admiral of Fra Angelico and Giotto, who copied several works , During his stay in Italy he traveled through Tuscany and the Pontifical States, and in 1839 he took part in the Exhibition of Fine Arts in Florence, where he presented the Dant and Virgili and Malenconia fabrics of a young heart

In 1842, he established his residence in Madrid and the following year he became an academic of San Fernando. Later he was appointed honorary painter (1846), chamber painter of Isabel II and professor of drawing at the “Escuela Superior de Pintura, Escultura y Engraving “(1860) On the other hand, he was an honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, a correspondent of the” Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes “in Venezuela, and from 1872 he exhibited the Great Cross of Isabel la Católica

Founder, together with Federico de Madrazo and Eugenio Ochoa, of the artistic magazine El Renacimiento (1847), who had an ephemeral life, participated in the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1855 and the National Fine Arts of Madrid from 1871 to 1876 And 1878 (in the last two, he was also a member of the jury)

Although he was a varied painter on issues and bills, the prestige acquired by Espalter while in life was due to his murals, at the moment, however, he is also valued as a retatist. In Madrid, the decorations made at the Spanish Theater stand out ( 1848), at the headquarters of the Central University (1853-1858), where he made ten allegorical figures, nine portraits of founders and twenty of famous figures, as well as those of Isabel II and the Catholic, and those of the Palacio del Congreso de Diputados In Navarre, he collaborated in the ornamentation of the Hall of the Throne of the Parliament of the provincial, for which he painted the mural The proclamation of the first king of Navarre and twenty portraits of the royal gallery (1864-1865)

As a portraitist, he was one of the favorite painters of the emerging nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, who knew how to capture in a true, strident manner, a style that could be defined as a pre-romanticist rather than romanticist. His most well-known portraits include the Octavi Carbonell (1842), that of his wife (1852), that of Muntades husband (1856), all three at the National Art Museum of Catalonia, that of Bonaventura Carles Aribau (1844; Palau de Llotja), and The one of the family of Jordi Flaquer (1845, Museo Romántico Madrid) Also works in the provincial museums of Girona and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Maricel de Sitges and Víctor Balaguer de Vilanova i la Geltrú

He died in Madrid on January 16, 1880, at the age of seventy Although Espalter’s relationship with Sitges was very short, as he was limited to his childhood and to a visit that perhaps he made to the town in the autumn of 1843 , The character’s location has never been put in doubt. In April 1899 the city council chaired by Miquel Ribas i Llopis agreed to give his name to a street in the town; And between 1916-1917, under the mayor of Simó Llauradó i Clarà, the route was extended. Afterwards, the figure of Joaquim Espalter was repeatedly evoked in the local press and, even, it was the object of a Dissertation (of which a summary was published) on the part of the historian Antoni Vigó i Marcé, great connoisseur of his life and work

Portrait of Octavi Carbonell 1842, preserved in the National Art Museum of Catalonia, in Barcelona
Portrait of girl 1840-1845, kept at the Maricel Museum, Art de la Vila Collection, in Sitges
Portrait of a woman 1846, kept at the Maricel Museum, Art de la Vila Collection, in Sitges
Portrait of Bonaventura Carles Aribau 1844, at the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi in Barcelona
Portrait of the family of Jordi Flaquer 1845, at the Romantic Museum of Madrid
Man with a regional dress 1850-1860, kept at the Maricel Museum, Art de la Vila Collection, in Sitges
El sollozo del moro 1855, de temática historicista
Portrait of the Muntadas 1856 husbands, at the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona
The Christian era 1871
Portrait of a woman, preserved in the Víctor Balaguer Museum Library
Portrait of a man, a work preserved in the Víctor Balaguer Museum Library
Decorations of the Spanish Theater of Madrid, 1849
Ceiling of the Auditorium of the Universidad Central de Madrid (the building is currently the headquarters of the Institute of Spain), 1853-1858
Salón del Trono del Palacio de la Diputación de Navarra, 1864-1865
Fresh of the halls of the presidency of the Congress of Deputies, Madrid