My recent reading of The Nail [in Spanish El Clavo, 1853] by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón has aroused my interest in reading Diary of a Witness to the African War [In Spanish: Diario de un testigo de la Guerra de Africa, 1859]. The work which gained him his literary recognition. But has also reminded me the works of another artist of the time, the renowned Spanish painter Mariano Fortuny who was also a chronicler of that war.
Mariano Fortuny, in full Mariano José María Bernardo Fortuny y Marsal [known more simply as Marià Fortuny or Mariano Fortuny], (born June 11, 1838, Reus, Spain—died Nov. 21, 1874, Rome, Italy), Spanish painter whose vigorous technique and anecdotal themes won him a considerable audience in the mid-19th century. After four years at the Academy of Barcelona, Fortuny in 1858 won the Prix de Rome, which enabled him to complete his studies at Rome. In 1859 he was chosen by provincial authorities to go to Morocco to paint the scenes of the war between Spain and the
Emperor Sultan of Morocco. He soon returned to Spain but spent all of his remaining years in Rome, except for a year in Paris (1869–70). In Paris he entered into business relations with the noted art dealer Goupil; their association brought him large sums for his paintings and an international reputation. Fortuny painted occasional large works, e.g., the huge “Battle of Tetuan,” based on an incident in the Moroccan campaign and a fine example of pictorial reportage, charged with action and energy. More characteristic, however, are his small genre paintings filled with fine detail, works that attempted to recapture the grace and charm of an imaginary 18th-century scene. (Source: Britannica)
The enclosed picture by Marià Fortuny i Marsal – La Batalla de Tetuán (Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, 1862-64. Óleo sobre lienzo, 300 x 972 cm) in the public domain.