The Giralda, Seville

Adrien Dauzats (French, Bordeaux 1804–1868 Paris)
Oil on paper, laid down on canvas
8 1/8 x 11 7/8 in. (20.6 x 30.2 cm)
Credit Line:
The Whitney Collection, Promised Gift of Wheelock Whitney III, and Purchase, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. McVeigh, by exchange, 2003

Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 804
The Giralda once served as the minaret of the mosque of Seville, which was transformed into a cathedral in the thirteenth century. It is seen from a less than iconic viewpoint, as though a record of a casual touristic moment. This informal sketch was painted during one of Dauzats’s trips to Spain in the company of Baron Isidore Taylor (1789–1879), who played a crucial role in expanding French popular taste to include works of art from other cultures and scenes of travel abroad.
This is the only oil study identified to date that Adrien Dauzats painted in Spain during his three trips there between 1835 and 1837, in the company of Isidore-Justin-Séverin Taylor (1789–1879), universally known as baron Taylor. (Dauzats had visited the Iberian peninsula once previously, in 1833.) Dauzats was a major contributor of lithographs to Taylor’s Les Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France, one of the most ambitious publications of the nineteenth century, which appeared in twenty-four volumes between 1820 and 1878. Also joining them was the painter Pharamond Blanchard (1805–1873). Prompted by the availability of masterpieces afforded by the recent suppression of religious orders in Spain, their mission was to amass a collection of paintings for King Louis-Philippe (r. 1830–48) that would eventually constitute the Musée du Louvre’s Galerie Espagnole.

Apart from the Patio de los Naranjos, the Giralda of the Cathedral of Seville is the only part of the original complex, which was initially built as a mosque, that survives. The Giralda was constructed as a minaret between 1184 and 1199, by order of Caliph Abu Yacub Yusuf. After the Reconquista, between 1558 and 1568, a Renaissance-style bell tower designed by Hernán Ruíz the Younger was added, and the Giralda reached its present height of 308 feet. Dauzats painted a highly finished, picturesque view of the Giralda, which survives in a contemporary replica of 1837 (Louvre). The present oil study was clearly intended to record the Giralda from a less than iconic viewpoint, substituting an essentially quotidian touristic moment for the timelessness of the picturesque. It is quite possible that the Metropolitan painting was intended as a self-sufficient work of art, albeit an informal study.

Eleven oil studies executed in Spain are described in the catalogue of Dauzats’s posthumous sale (Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 1–4, 1869, nos. 8–18); none has been identified.

[Asher Ethan Miller 2013]
private collection, Belgium (until 1976; sale, Christie's, London, April 9, 1976, no. 136, as "La Giralda, Seville; Vue sur les toits," to Whitney); Wheelock Whitney III, New York (from 1976)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Path of Nature: French Paintings from the Wheelock Whitney Collection, 1785–1850," January 22–April 21, 2013, unnumbered cat. (fig. 58).

Ghislaine Plessier. Adrien Dauzats ou la tentation de l'Orient: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint. Bordeaux, 1990, p. 176, no. 176.

Asher Ethan Miller. "The Path of Nature: French Paintings from the Wheelock Whitney Collection, 1785–1850." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 70 (Winter 2013), p. 45, fig. 58 (color).