Portrait of Jaume Balmes Urpià
Alentorn, Eduard Batiste (atribuït) [Falset, Tarragona, 1855-Manresa, 1920]
Technique: Plaster
Dimensions: 52 x 44 x 26 cm
Date: c. 1882
Generic classification: Sculpture
General inventari: 41 E
Location: Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi
Inscriptions: “BALMES”, at the lower front side. Provenance: unknown. Bibliography: Moreno 1983, núm. 78 (reprod.); Bassegoda 1986, p. 198 (reprod.); Tera 2011, p. 136 (reprod.). Note: although so far not been able to know with certainty the authorship of the work, now can he attributed to Eduard B. Alentorn, artist stylistically very close, which, as noted in Tera 2011, presented a bust thinker Jaume Balmes church in the contest organized by the Economic Society of Friends of Barcelona 1882. Moreover, by the considerable size of the inscription that bears the portrayed’s name at the lower side of this work leads to the hypothesis it could belong to a series of busts devoted to notable people. It is probably a posthumous portrait, since Balmes died in 1848 at the early age of thirty-eight, similar to the oil portrait by the painter Federico Madrazo of 1846 and strongly reminiscent too of the full-body portrait by Josep Alcoverro (1835-1910) the Catalan sculptor who established in Madrid and to whom Elias 1928, p.13, credits a further bust in terracotta devoted to the thinker. Balmes was depicted in other statues such as the funerary monument which stands at the cathedral’s cloister of Vic made by Josep Bover which dates from 1853, and the statue by Joan Samsó, whose whereabouts are unknown at present and by which the artist was awarded with a honourable mention at the Exposició de Belles Arts (Fine Arts Exhibition ) of Barcelona which the Academy held in 1866. It could be attributed to the sculptor Joan Soler from which the Academy owns a further portrait bust since it is known this artist executed other portraits which have not been identified.
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