José Moreno Carbonero
Malaga, 1858 - Madrid, 1942
Born in Malaga on 28 March 1858, José Moreno Carbonero initially trained as an artist at the Higher School of Fine Arts in the city, where he was a pupil of Bernardo Ferrándiz and displayed an outstanding talent for painting from a very early age. After travelling to Seville and Paris on a grant awarded by the Malaga Diputación (provincial council), at the age of only twenty-one he executed his first large history painting there, El príncipe de Viana (“The Prince of Viana”, 1881), which heralded him as one of the great masters of the genre, as confirmed only a few years later by works as significant as La conversión del duque de Gandía (“The Conversion of the Duke of Gandía”, 1884) and the splendid Entrada de Roger de Flor en Constantinopla (“Entry of Roger de Flor into Constantinople”, 1884), which was commissioned by the senate and is indisputably one of the most important Spanish history paintings of the 19th century.
In 1898 Moreno became a member of the San Fernando Academy in Madrid and settled permanently in the city. Thereafter he lived comfortably in his mansion in Calle Miguel Ángel and was hailed as one of the most reputed portraitists of the high society, even though these works are the least appealing examples of his oeuvre. He taught Dalí and Picasso at the School of Fine Arts and received the highest decorations and honours during his lifetime, such as the crosses of Alfonso XII and Isabella the Catholic, among others. He was also made a grand officer of the Crown of Italy and of St Michael of Bavaria and a commander of the Polar Star of Sweden.
An extraordinarily prolific painter, in addition to history paintings and portraits he also produced genre and Orientalist scenes, paintings of human types and city views featuring monumental buildings. He is particularly notable for his many paintings illustrating episodes from literary works, especially Gil Blas and also Don Quixote, for which he developed a genuine passion in the last decades of his life. He died in Madrid on 15 April 1942.
José Luis Díez