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print study / drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pedro Roldàn, facing the viewer wearing a garment with a broad collar fastened at the neck by string ties. 1798-99 Red chalk over black chalk

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1798-1799
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 173 millimetres (sheet)
    • Width: 126 millimetres
    • Height: 125 millimetres (image)
    • Width: 95 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed along bottom in pen and ink not in Goya's hand 'Pedro Roldan' and in red chalk in Goya's hand 'Escult'.
  • Curator's comments

    Modified text from McDonald 2013

    This is one of a series of chalk portraits by Goya that were intended to illustrate Ceán Bermúdez’s 'Diccionario de los más ilustres profesores de las Bellas Artes'. For reasons that are not known the drawings were never turned into prints and the 'Diccionario' was published in 1800 by the Real Academia de San Fernando as a series of six small volumes without illustrations. A list of the artists whose lives are discussed in the Diccionario is provided at the back of the last volume. Ceán encouraged Goya to explore printmaking and it is possible that through their friendship they planned a much more ambitious project. Goya’s marvellous portrait of Ceán for the frontispiece of the Diccionario now in a private collection shows him a corpulent man of eager intelligence around the age of fifty (Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid).

    Out of eleven drawings in the series, seven are securely attributed to Goya (Gassier 1975, nos 149–59). The historical portraits of which Pedro Roldàn is one show the sitter animated and alive, very much in the same spirit of the portrait of Ceán. Goya evidently wanted to treat all the portraits in the same manner without historicising the earlier figures.

    Pedro Roldàn (1624–99) was one of the most important sculptors who worked in Seville during the second half of the seventeenth century. In this drawing he is shown wearing a garment with a broad collar and unlike other portraits in the series, he directly faces the viewer. The artist’s name not to have been written by Goya but his profession 'Escult' is typical of his hand (Salas 1964).

    This drawing was bequeathed to the British Museum by Enriqueta Harris Frankfort, the distinguished scholar of Spanish art and sister of Tomás Harris who wrote the first complete catalogue of Goya's prints.

    M.a Dolores Salazar, 'Pedro Rodan escultor', Archivo español de Art, 1949, p.317; X. de Salas, 'Portrait of Spanish Artists by Goya', The Burlington Magazine, vol.106, no.730, 1964, pp.14-19; Gassier 156; P. Gassier & J. Wilson, 'Goya: His Life and Work with a Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Drawings and Engravings', London 1971, no.704; M. P. McDonald, 'Renaissance to Goya: Prints and drawings from Spain',, British Museum, London 2012, p.244; M. P. McDonald, ‘El trazo español en el British Museum: Dibujos del Renacimiento a Goya’, exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 2013,


  • Bibliography

    • Gassier 1973 156 bibliographic details
    • McDonald 2013 61 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Spanish Roy XVIIIc)

  • Exhibition history

    2012/13 Sept-Jan, London, British Museum, ‘Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain’
    2013 March-June, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, ‘El trazo español en el British Museum …’
    2013, Aug-Nov, Sydney, AGNSW, 'Renaissance to Goya'
    2013-4, Dec-Mar, Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum of Modern Art, 'Renaissance to Goya'

  • Associated names

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: Diccionario de los más ilustres profesores de las Bellas Artes (by Augustín Ceán Bermúdez)
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era. Credit line to read: "Accepted by H.M.Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the British Museum, 2007"

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Bust portrait of the Spanish sculptor Pedro Roldàn, facing the viewer wearing a garment with a broad collar fastened at the neck by string ties. 1798-99 Red chalk

Bust portrait of the Spanish sculptor Pedro Roldàn, facing the viewer wearing a garment with a broad collar fastened at the neck by string ties. 1798-99 Red chalk

Image description



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Object reference number: PDO196201

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