CEEH Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica

Valentín Carderera (1796-1880). Dibujante, coleccionista y viajero romántico


José María Lanzarote Guiral


384 pages; 221 color illustrations; hardcover with chrome; 22 x 27,5 cm


Spanish; published by the CEEH and Biblioteca Nacional de España; 2019





Valentín Carderera y Solano (Huesca, 1796 – Madrid, 1880) was a painter, scholar, communicator, collector and traveller. His life was marked by his efforts to safeguard Spain’s historical heritage and he journeyed around much of the Spanish mainland to bear witness in his drawings and watercolours to significant monuments, many at risk of disappearance as a result of the modernising drive ushered in by the new liberal order.

This catalogue, which accompanies the exhibition with the same title on view at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, reconstructs Carderera’s intense life in six thematic sections. A survey of his formative period, including his stay in Italy, is followed by a section on the Romantic generation that exposes his bonds with the Madrazo family, Mérimée and Stirling Maxwell. He shared with them the same nostalgia for the past and the need to define his position in the complex debate between tradition and progress.

Travel is the theme of the next two sections: one addresses his stays in Paris and London to publish his drawings of Spanish monuments; and the other the sketches he made of buildings, landscapes and costume during his travels around Spain in an attempt to reflect the country’s artistic wealth. The fifth section, ‘Pantheons on paper’, takes a look at his work as a historian, which was focused on studying the iconography of prominent people of the past and resulted in the publication of his most important work, Iconografía española. The book ends with a study of Carderera as a collector and bibliophile, paying particular attention to his important role in disseminating Goya’s biography and work on paper.

José María Lanzarote Guiral holds a degree in History from the University of Zaragoza and a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence. He furthered his studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and at the University of Aix-Marseille. He has collaborated on the project to study the drawings of nineteenth-century architecture and ornament in the Biblioteca Nacional and is the author of the books Viaje artístico por Aragón de Valentín Carderera (2013) and Diarios de viaje de Valentín Carderera por Europa (1841-1861). París, Londres, Bélgica y Alemania (2016).