History Painting and Historical Memory: The Expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain
Pere Oromig’s Embarco de los moriscos en el Grau de Valencia, a seventeenth-century history painting, is part of a series of six paintings by four artists on historical moments from the 1609 expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain. These paintings record the historical events surrounding the expulsion and present a powerful visual representation of these moments. Pere Oromig’s paintings function as much more than a simple illustration. In this thesis, I demonstrate the ways in which the painting functioned as a visual record of Spanish sentiment toward the exiles after the completion of the events. I present evidence of how that history was constructed, explained, and justified for the viewers of the inner circles of the king—the politicians, the patricians and the court visitors who would have had access to the paintings in the king’s collection. These paintings, the first to depict the 1609 expulsion of the Moriscos, also created a precedent for the format of Spanish history painting during the Golden Age of Spain under Philip III and Philip IV’s rule.