Francisco José DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (1746-1828) — Retrato de Rafael Esteve



From the more mature period of the artist, datable 1815, a particular Saragossan collection keeps the Portrait of the Engraver Rafael Esteve, oil on canvas, with dimensions 1 x 0.74 m., replica of the exemplar conserved in the Museo de San Pio V de Valencia and which was bequeathed to the Real Academia de San Carlos de Valencia by don Antonio Esteve, nephew of the portrayed.

Rafael Esteve Vilella (Valencia 1772-1847), whom belonged to a large family of artists, was the son of the sculptor Jose Esteve y Bonet (1741-1802). He studied in the Reales Academias de Bellas Artes de San Carlos de Valencia y de San Fernando de Madrid. Engraver of the Chamber in 1802. In 1817 resided in Paris and Roma, with the purpose of expanding his knowledge, trip which he repeated in 1837. Gold medalist of the Salon of Paris of 1839 with an engraving that depicted Murillo’s Moses and the Water from The Rock, was appointed honorary Director of Engraving of San Carlos, institution from which he already was a recognized academician. Although it has not been proven, Harris (T, pags. 107-108), suspects that it was this artist the one that printed Los Caprichos  (1798-1799) and La Tauromaquia, dating from the same date of the portrait.

This version in question was executed for the sculptor Jose Esteve, Rafael’s brother, whom precisely in 1815 solicited to be appointed honorary academician of San Carlos. Gaya Nuño highlighted in an expert assessment the excellent execution of the hands.

The emotion of the intimate is captured in this painting in which Goya surprises the model with an engraving plate in his right hand, sedentary, and in a chromatic game in which the color black of the coat contrasts with the yellows of the armchair. The ear masterfully insinuated and the hands neatly described.

A study of the head that Mayer considered to be a copy was part of the collection Nemes de Alemania. Another version, that belonged to Rosarito Weiss, also a sketch of the face, can be found in the Museo Lazaro Galliano de Madrid. Salas attributed a preparatory study from his own collection.

– Translated from Spanish to English. Text from book “Goya in the Aragonese Collections” (see pictures of the book after the pictures of the details of the paintings in this page).


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Product Description

Original artwork

Condition Report: Perfect

Dimensions: 100 x 74 cm

Artist or Maker: Francisco José DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES

Medium: Oil/canvas

Date: 18th century