Franz Xaver Winterhalter (German, 1805–1873)
Oil on canvas; 70 1/4 x 96 3/4 in. (178.4 x 245.7 cm)
Bequest of William H. Webb, 1899 (01.21)
This painting depicts an episode from the legend of Roderick, the last king of the Spanish Visigoths. After spying on his maids of honor to determine the fairest among them, the king selects Florinda, at center left, who becomes the object of his love. In revenge, Florinda’s father called the Arabs into Spain and brought about the Arab Conquest.
This painting was shown in the Salon of 1853. It is a replica of a version of the same size given by Queen Victoria to Prince Albert in 1852. Winterhalter used a similar composition for his 1855 portrait of the “Empress Eugénie Surrounded by Her Ladies-in-Waiting” (Musée National du Château, Compiègne).