Madrid, Apr 14 (EFE) .- The Prado Museum has received the donation of Goya’s early work “Aníbal victor”, acquired by the Friends of the Gallery Foundation, its director, Miguel Falomir, announced this Wednesday.
“Today is an extraordinarily happy day for the museum, this painting of” Hannibal victorious “seeing Italy from the Alps is incorporated into the museum’s permanent collection and it does so once again thanks to the generosity of the Fundación de Amigos del Museo del Prado “he explains in a post on Instagram.
Until now the work belonged to the Selgas-Fagalde Foundation, which in 2011 had loaned it to the Prado. This painting completed one of the few chronological gaps in the museum’s collection and, dated 1771, it became the first authenticated work by Goya to be exhibited in the Prado.
The work, bought as an unauthorized Italian painting by the founder of the Selgas-Fagalde de Asturias Foundation in the mid-nineteenth century in Madrid, was authenticated by the Prado Museum in 1994 and, a year later, participated in one of the exhibitions programmed for the 175th anniversary of the gallery.
The Aragonese painter was presented with this work to the contest organized by the Academy of Parma in 1771. Although he received a mention, the Spanish genius did not win the contest. According to studies, it could be political reasons or, perhaps, that the colors did not match those used at the time.
Although Goya adhered to the norms that this institution dictated that the paintings presented should have, he skipped some details. The painter placed Hannibal in the foreground, granting him all the prominence, despite the fact that the bases indicated that the genius with the majestic wings should go before the hero, shaking his hand.
“Goya was interested in showing Aníbal when he has just passed the Alps and faces crossing the Po river, represented iconographically by a male figure with the head of a bull or a buffalo”, commented in 2011 the head of conservation of the eighteenth century and Goya , Manuela Mena, for whom one of the interesting aspects of the painting is the expression of the hero.
“His strength almost recalls the figure of Hercules with all his power and his anti-classicism. We do not know if he is going forwards or backwards but he looks with illusion, although at the same time he is afraid,” said the conservative and stressed that Hannibal’s eyes evoke those of the soldier protagonist of “The executions of the third of May”.
Another interesting detail of the work is the way of interpreting the army, “which appears tired after crossing the Alps. Goya uses blue and gray tones to express this fatigue”.
Goya made changes with respect to the preparatory sketch, which featured a toppled horse that was barely supporting itself, and painted a horse “that is going to move on.”
Some of the compositional elements that appear in this work would remain throughout the artist’s career, “such as subtly raising the figure of the hero, representing the rest of the figures with smaller dimensions,” said Manuela Mena, who considered that Goya demonstrates his study of Antiquity in the representation of Hannibal’s helmet and ties.
Another important element “that contradicts the assertions of some that Goya did not know how to paint hands, is the perfection of their drawing,” according to the curator. “Everything is perfectly studied in this work, fundamental for the museum’s collection. This is Goya collecting the wisdom of those he admired.”