Night - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Laplaza, Roberto

Bilbao,18/02/1842-Madrid, 08/01/1930

Charcoal on paper

35.7 x 31 cm

R. Laplaza (on the reverse)


Third quarter of the 19th century


Acquired in 2007

Although he was a particularly prolific painter of portraits and of a range of themes including historical, religious, mythological and popular scenes, plus still life paintings and allegories, where Laplaza really excelled was in his decorative painting. In the 1880s and 1890s he executed a number of works (and helped to restore them) at the church of San Francisco el Grande in Madrid, where he also designed the stained-glass windows, and the concert of angels for the dome of St Anthony's chapel. He also decorated the palaces of, among others, the Marquis de Campo, the Count and Countess of Casa Valencia, the Marchioness of Casariego and the Marquis of Riscal.

This sketch for Night is linked to his decorative work, being produced as part of the decoration for the palace of Eduardo de Carondelet y Donato, 2nd Duke of Bailén and Marquis of Portugalete. In his palace on the Alcalá Street, this leading patron of the arts built up a notable art collection, with works by Murillo, Goya, Fortuny, Palmaroli and Pradilla, as well as by Laplaza. As part of his contribution to the project, Laplaza made two decorations that included the allegories of Night and Day, the sketches for which, except for slight details, in terms of composition and line may be considered final. The embodiment of Night features the classical symbolism used to represent Nix, a young woman with uncovered breast and a black cloak studded with stars, who is accompanied by an owl and a bat, two species she was traditionally associated with. (Javier Novo)

Selected bibliography

  • Adquisiciones 02/07 [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2007. pp. 38-39, n° cat. 10.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. p. 28.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 28.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. p. 28, n° cat. 10.