José Gallegos Arnosa was born in Jerez de la Frontera on 3 May 1857. He was from a modest family and first studied at the school run by the Santo Domingo Academy of Fine Arts The patronage of Guillermo Garvey, the winery owner for whom his father worked, enabled him to go and live in Madrid at the age of sixteen and to enroll at the San Fernando Academy.
Years later, in the catalogs of his first National Exhibitions, he stated that his master had been Federico de Madrazo, who made him study “thoroughly” the works of Murillo, Velázquez and other accomplished artists.
In 1878, having been established in Madrid for five years, he left a testament to his learning in Arab Marriage (“Arab Wedding”), a work considerably important to be acquired by the state in 1882. Another work, En el haén (“ In the Harem ”), attests to the prestige he enjoyed in Jerez, as it was exhibited at the local academy.
Gallegos moved to Rome in 1880 and made the Italian capital his permanent residence except perhaps for a short stay in Tangiers. He spent his final period in Anzio, very close to Rome, where he came into contact with the colony of Spanish artists who had espoused the précieux aesthetic. He made his credit in the Eternal City with a large painting entitled War Booty in which he continued with the Orientalist themes. More on José Gallegos Arnosa
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