Romantic Spain: David Roberts and Genaro Pérez Villaamil

Research output: Book/ReportScholarly edition

Abstract / Description of output

David Roberts (1796–1864) and Genaro Pérez Villaamil (1807–1854) were two of the most important landscape painters of European Romanticism. Their views of monuments, cities and landscapes, often with a flavour of traditional life, helped to forge a Romantic image of Spain that is still palpable today.

This catalogue, which accompanies the exhibition of the same name in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, offers new perspectives on the dialogue between the work of both artists in the context of the cultural discovery of the Spain, North Africa and the Middle East by artist-travellers in the nineteenth century. Adopting a comparative approach, the six essays and over 120 catalogue entries written by eleven experts led by Claudia Hopkins, curator of the show and editor of this volume, cover the trajectories of both artists, starting with their first encounter in Seville in 1833.

The authors examine Roberts’s influence on Villaamil in depth for the first time and reveal important differences in their respective visions of Spain. For Roberts, Spain was a timeless and exotic nation. Although Villaamil shared Roberts’s fascination with Andalusia, he shifted attention towards the north and often defied the cultural cliches promoted by the Scottish artist. Villaamil offered a patriotic image of a Catholic Spain, which was opening itself up to progress. By the 1850s, both artists responded in similar ways to modern developments in their respective countries.

The catalogue, which includes unpublished artworks, is richly illustrated with images of drawings, paintings and prints, as well as manuscripts and ceramics, enabling the reader to draw numerous parallels.

In 2022-2023 the catalogue won 'The Jonathan Brown Award' from the Society for Iberian Global Art in recognition of exceptional achievement in an exhibition catalogue dedicated to an Iberian theme. The award is named for the renowned scholar, professor and curator Jonathan Brown at Columbia University (1939-2022).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMadrid
PublisherReal Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica (Madrid)
Commissioning bodyCentro de Estudios Europa Hispánica
Number of pages512
ISBN (Print)978-84187600307
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021
EventEnamorados de España: Roberts, Pérez Villaamil y el paisaje romántico // A passion for Spain: Roberts, Pérez Villaamil and Romantic Landscape Painting - Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 30 Sept 202014 Jan 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Romanticism
  • Scottish-Spanish exchanges
  • Orientalism
  • painting
  • drawings and prints
  • ceramics
  • Cultural translation


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