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García Hidalgo, Josélocked

(b Villena, Alicante, c. 1645; d Madrid, June 28, 1717).
  • Ismael Gutiérrez Pastor

Spanish painter, engraver and writer. He began his training in Murcia with Nicolás de Villacis (c. 1618–94) and Mateo Gilarte (c. 1620–after 1680), who both worked in a naturalist and tenebrist style. He travelled to Rome in the 1660s and came into contact with the Italian Baroque, especially the work of Pietro da Cortona and Carlo Maratti. On his return he was first in Valencia, where the work of Jerónimo Jacinto Espinosa became a strong influence. Towards 1674 he established himself in Madrid, where he entered the circle of Juan Carreño de Miranda.

García Hidalgo’s numerous paintings were frequently signed, and he painted a good many for the Augustinian Order in Madrid, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Santiago de Compostela and Sigüenza (e.g the Vision of St Augustine, 1680; Sigüenza Cathedral), and for the Carmelite Order in Alba de Tormes, Peñaranda de Bracamonte and Segovia (e.g. the Carmelite Allegory, Segovia, Convento de Carmelitas Descalzos). The Virgen del Carmen (1674) for the oratory of the Rey led to his nomination by Charles II as Pintor del Rey that year, though in 1703 in his request for nomination as Pintor de Cámara to Philip V—who gave it to him ad honorem—he declared to have spent 27 years in the service of the Crown. He also held the title of Censor del Santo Oficio for the Inquisition and in 1677 he belonged to the Congregación de Pintores, based in the Hermanidad de los Siete Dolores. From c. 1674 to 1711 he painted 24 canvases of the Lives of St Augustine and St Philip for S Felipe el Real in Madrid, some of which are preserved in the Prado. There are numerous works from the 1680s, including two canvases from the dismantled altarpiece dedicated to St Augustine (c. 1680; Sigüenza Cathedral), St Paschal Baylon (1681; Saragossa, Mus. Zaragoza), St Francis of Assisi (1684; Barcelona, Mus. A. Catalunya) and the Death of St Joseph (1688; Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Atheneum).

About 1680 García Hidalgo began to etch the 151 prints that make up his theoretical work, the Principios para estudiar el nobilissimo y real arte de la pintura (Madrid, c. 1693), with models intended for the teaching of beginners. He also published the Geometría práctica, with 29 prints (Madrid, c. 1693). In 1697 he returned to Valencia, buying a house there in 1700, and he was again in the city in 1706. A work that may date from these years is the Foundation of the Convento de S Ursula by the Blessed Juan de Ribera (Valencia, Convento de S Ursula). Late works painted in Madrid include the portraits of Mariana of Austria (1709; Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Agustinas), Luis I (1710; Salamanca, Pal. Monterrey) and Don Manuel de Coloma, Marqués de Canales (c. 1713; Salamanca, Mus. Salamanca). His last known painting is the Mystical Marriage of St Catherine (1714; Salamanca, Residencia Sotomayor).

In spite of his extensive work, García Hidalgo was a secondary painter in the school of Madrid. His style is consistent and is characterized by complex compositions, with great scenes of architectural perspectives that open on to connecting spaces. These are populated by strongly built figures, whose faces often have little expression, and angels seen in extreme foreshortening. All this is unified by an earthy colouring, resulting from his earlier training and removed from the brilliant tones of other contemporary painters in Madrid.


  • Geometría práctica (Madrid, c. 1693)
  • Principios para estudiar el nobilissimo y real arte de la pintura (Madrid, c. 1693/R 1965) [facs. edn incl. biog. study by A. Rodriguez Moñino]


  • J. Urrea Fernández: ‘El pintor José García Hidalgo’, Archv. Esp. A., 48 (1975), pp. 97–117
  • A. Piedra: ‘Fecha y lugar de nacimiento de José García Hidalgo’, Archv Esp. A., 63 (1990), pp. 325–6