José del Castillo


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(1737–93). Spanish painter. Castillo enjoyed an unusually distinguished artistic apprenticeship, by comparison with most of his contemporaries. At age 14, in 1751 he was sponsored by Spain's minister of state, José de Caravajal y Lancaster, to study under Giaquinto in Rome. When Giaquinto was summoned by Ferdinand VI to Madrid in 1753 to decorate the royal palace, Castillo returned to study at the newly founded Academia de S. Fernando (see under Madrid). His talents won him numerous prizes, including a royal pension in 1758 to study at the Spanish Academy in Rome under Preciado de la Vega, who encouraged him to copy after the Antique and late Baroque compositions. In 1764, he was called back to Madrid, where he was employed by Mengs to paint cartoons for the Royal Tapestry Factory of S. Barbara. His courtly scenes, taken from contemporary Madrid life, are characterized by elegant figures painted with bright colours and set in idealized landscapes. An excellent imitator of Giordano, he was commissioned to copy many of the Neapolitan painter's compositions in the royal collection and restore his frescoes in the Buen Retiro Palace.

From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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