Awards & Collections
1878 - Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes, Madrid. Medal of Honour
1878 - Exposition Universelle de Paris. Medal of Honour
1893 - Exhibition of Munich. First prize
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Senate building, Madrid
Madrid Town Council
Museo de Zaragoza
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
Pradilla’s training was typical of the painters of his time. He studied until 1865 in the Academia de Zaragoza and then went to Madrid where he alternated copying works in the Museo del Prado with studies in the Real Academia de San Fernando (Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando). In 1874, he went on scholarship to Rome where he stayed for three years; in the paintings that he sent from there during this time, one can already see his ability to portray the atmosphere of the time; natural realism. There, in the capital on the Tiber, he completed what would be his grand work, Doña Juana la Loca (Doña Juana 'the mad') (Madrid, Museo del Prado), a historical character who appealed to him greatly and to whom he would dedicate various compositions. He was soon successful in his own country as well as internationally. In 1879-1882, he painted La rendición de Granada (The Surrender of Granada), which would become his second grand historical painting, praised by the critics and the public at large, and which is today one of the great historical paintings of the Spanish nineteenth century.
In 1881 he was inducted as an academic into the Academia de San Fernando, and named Director of the Spanish Academy in Rome, a position that he resigned from eight months later in order to attend to his artistic commissions.
As the century waned to a close, Pradilla’s fortune took a turn for the worse. He lost all of his savings in the bankruptcy of the Villodas Bank (1892) and his daughter died. Both of these events plunged him into profound sorrow and apathy towards art, which he had to overcome to increase his production. In 1896, he was named Director of the Museo del Prado, a position that he resigned from two years later. He retired to his palace studio in Madrid, where he lived in reclusion until the end of his days.