F. Brambilla, Canal de Salamanca
(Museo Naval, Madrid)

Ferdinando Brambilla (1763-1834), Lombard painter, was born in Cassano d'Adda. He studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Brera. When Malaspina - who had set out on his Expedition with the draughtsmen José del Pozo and José Guio  - realized that there was a need for more versatile artists, he turned to his brother Azzo Giacinto and to his friends Paolo Greppi and Francesco Melzi d'Eril, through whose efforts Brambilla and Giovanni Ravenet were enlisted. The two joined the Expedition at Acapulco. A specialist in  perspective, Brambilla executed many landscape views of Guam, the Philippines, Macao, the Friendly Islands, Perú, Chile and Argentina, surpassing in skill every other artist on the  Expedition. Having returned to Spain he collaborated on some copper engravings of his sketches and in 1798 was named Pintor de Cámara de S.M. [Chamber Painter to Their Catholic Majesties]. In 1814 he was appointed director of the Academy of San Fernando. In 1821 he was engaged to paint a series of views of the Reales Sitios [royal residences], and worked on this assignment until his death.

For more information:

C. SOTOS SERRANO, Los pintores de la Expedición de Alejandro Malaspina, Madrid, Real Academia de la Historia, 1982, 2 voll.; v. vol. I, pp. 99-121.

P. BARBER, "Malaspina and George III. Brambila and Watling three rediscovered drawings of Sydney and Parramata," M. PALAU - A. OROZCO A. (eds.), Malaspina '92. I Jornadas Internacionales: Madrid - Cádiz - La Coruña, Cádiz, Real Academia Hispano Americana, 1994, pp. 356-374.

E. SOLER, "Fernando Brambila, pintor de cámara de Carlos IV," E. GIMÉNEZ - M.A. LOZANO - J.A. RÍOS (eds.), Españoles en Italia e Italianos en España, Alicante, Universidad de Alicante, 1996, pp. 27-38.

Image courtesy of the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani, Mulazzo, Italy.  Biographical and bibliographical notes by Dario Manfredi (Italian version), translated by John Black.

Updated: November 21, 2008