Miquel Parra and April
Miquel Parra i Abril (Valencia, 1780 - Madrid, 13 October 1846) was a Valencian painter, one of the most prestigious of the first half of the nineteenth century. The fact of being brother-in-law of Vicent Lopez and Portaña abrió the doors to him of the Madrilenian court, where it obtained the appointment of camera painter on the part of Ferran VII
He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Carles, where he would soon move to the Sala de Flors, created to supply print designs to the poignant Valencian silk industry. The passage through this room would mark his career, as Parra was mainly admired for his high quality flower paintings.
In 1812 he was appointed assistant professor of painting at the Academy of St. Charles, and shortly afterwards "Lieutenant Director." In 1815, after the end of the war, he moved to Madrid, where he gave the king several works commemorating his triumphant return to Spain. The good reception that these works had and the fact that he was the brother-in-law of the renowned Vicent López, earned him the royal appointment as honorary chamber painter. Parra asked the king to be able to continue with the execution of commemorative paintings of his entry into several Spanish cities, as well as to be able to move to Valencia, due to the poor state of health of his parents. From Valencia he continued to send his works to the court annually, but he also made an important production of flower paintings, religious themes, history painting, portraits, still lifes, as well as drawings.
He designed the decoration of the vaults of the church of Muro, with scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist.
On the death of Ferdinand VII he remained attached to the court, being one of the favorite painters of the reigning queen Maria Cristina. Following the confiscation (1836), and as an academic of Sant Carles, he was entrusted with the collection of works of art and the formation of the Museum of Fine Arts in the premises that the Academy owned in the Convent of Carmen.
He oversaw the careers of two children, also painters: Josep Parra i Piquer and Josep Felip Parra i Piquer. He died in Madrid on a trip to the capital to accompany the last of the two to present one of his works to the queen.
His works are preserved in the Museo San Pius V in Valencia, in the Royal Palace of Madrid, in the Cathedral of Valencia and in several other Spanish palaces and museums.
References and notes
Alba Pagán, Ester. Valencian painting and painters during the War of Independence and the reign of Fernando VII (1808 - 1833). Doctoral thesis. University of Valencia, 2004. ISBN 84-370-5962-3
Biography at the Prado Museum