(b. 1746, Madrid, d. 1799, Madrid)

Charles III Dining before the Court

c. 1788
Oil on wood, 50 x 64 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Paret contributed to the restoration of the thematic element to its former importance, infusing it with new vitality by cultivating popular themes, scenes of everyday life set amid conventionally bucolic landscapes, in which, however, there are signs of a return to naturalism, as illustrated by this painting.

Charles III (1716-88) was king of Spain (1759-88) and of Naples and Sicily (1735-59). He was the son of Philip V and Elizabeth Farnese. Spain prospered under the rule of Charles, who is regarded as the greatest Bourbon king of Spain and one of the 'enlightened despots.' His reign is noted for economic and administrative reforms and for the expulsion of the Jesuits (1767). He was succeeded by his son Charles IV.