VILADOMAT Y MANALT, Antonio
(b. 1678, Barcelona, d. 1755, Barcelona)

Biography

Spanish Catalan painter. He was the most significant figure in Catalan painting from the end of the 17th century to the first half of the 18th. He trained with P. B. Savall and J. B. Perramón in Barcelona. The arrival of the Archduke Charles (later Charles VI) of Austria in Barcelona in 1703 as a pretender to the throne during the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-13), accompanied by such Italian artists as Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena, acquainted Viladomat y Manalt with artistic trends in Italy. He experienced problems with the artists' guild in Barcelona because of his refusal to participate in the traditional work system. Despite this, his workshop-academy became a centre for the training of numerous painters, sculptors and engravers.

Viladomat y Manalt was principally a religious painter, and his oil paintings include Christ Appearing to St Ignatius of Loyola (c. 1711-20; Barcelona, Jesuit Convent) and St Augustine and the Holy Family (Madrid, Prado). He also painted such murals as the tempera Angels with the Sudarium (c. 1727; Mataró, S María, Capilla de los Dolores), but most of the others have disappeared. He painted an extensive series of monastic and evangelical works, in which his revival of compositions characteristic of the Spanish Golden Age is apparent. Examples include the Stigmatization of St Francis (c. 1724; Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), part of a cycle of paintings on the life of St Francis commissioned for the cloister of the convent of S Francisco de Asís in Barcelona.

His late Baroque style is related to the severe and realistic trend in Spanish painting in the early 17th century. Some interesting profane allegories by the artist are extant, notably the series Four Seasons (c. 1720-30; Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), which consists of landscapes with genre scenes. Several of the still-lifes by Viladomat y Manalt such as the realistic Still-life with Dead Turkey (Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), which has strong contrasts of light, bear an affinity with Neapolitan painting of the last decades of the 17th century.



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