Important Sanchez Blanco Historical Military Painting "After the Battle"
Pedro Sanchez Blanco (Spanish, 1838 – 1885)
País Después de un Combate, 1864
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated to the lower right
Marked with crown and ‘S.G.’ to the canvas verso
Housed in a period giltwood frame
An impressive military subject within a fine academic landscape in the Realist style. A pair of figures lie dormant in the foreground, the result of some recent conflict. The soldiers are likely German and an historical rendering compared to the 1864 date of the work. A pickelhaube helmet is illustrated on the fallen figure in center, indicative of Saxon uniforms in the mid 19th century. The figure beneath the caisson is roughly similar to other uniforms from the Austro-Prussian wars of the 1860s, and so it can be assumed that Blanco was using some artistic license, and the work is most likely a commentary on war rather than documentation of a specific conflict.
Evidence overwhelmingly suggests that this work was ostensibly titled País Después de un Combate during its exhibition in the 1865 Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Spain. Furthermore, the canvas bears a pair of marks of one of the most important Continental collectors of the 19th century – Infante Sebastian of Bourbon and Braganza (Rio de Janeiro, 1811-1875). A number of extant works either bore the stamp of Sebastian or a burned mark to stretchers.
Infante Sebastian was both a Portuguese and Spanish prince of great wealth, having blood ties to both King John VI of Portugal and Charles IV of Spain. His collecting interests were well-documented and among them were works by Sanchez Blanco. In fact, an excerpt from Modern Art in Spain, from Cosas de España, Illustrative of Spain and the Spaniards as they are, Volume 2 (1866) seems to indicate that this work was especially commissioned from the artist:
- ‘The Infante Don Sebastian has shown his appreciation for modern art by his purchase of an historical landscape entitled ’Despues del Combate’ (‘After the Battle’) by the admired painter, Sanchez Blanco: This picture was shown at the Exhibition of Fine Arts.’
As Don Sebastian is listed as the owner in the 1865 exhibition, he was likely to have commissioned or purchase the work the year of its completion, 1864. While much of Sebastian’s collections have made their way into Spanish institutional collections, evidence of this work can only be found in the 1865 exhibition.
Sanchez Blanco had an extensive academic training in drawing and painting, with stints in Paris and Brussels in the late 1850s during his formative years. He returned to Madrid, Spain, when he primarily executed commissions in portraiture, secular subjects and some religious works. The style of landscape painting in After the Battle is emblematic of traditional landscape painting of the period.
- chips and wear to the edges of the frame; smudges and wear to the face of the frame; craquelure throughout the surface of the painting; evidence of repair to the canvas; to the verso, marks and wear. Scattered inpainting throughout, thought he signature is entirely clean under UV light.
- measurements of frame; measurements of visible image 58" W x 27" H.