These two portraits, most likely copies after the originals of Santiago Rebull, bring no honor to the memories of the ill-starred Maximiliano and Carlota of Mexico. The Empress, the ambitious daughter of the King of the Belgians, while handsome, had a fairly severe countenance, something her image here only accentuates. And while the Emperor's portrait doesn't gloss over his protruding lower lip - the infamous "Habsburg lip" - the artist might have asked HIM to close his mouth; the former archduke of Austria was no genius - he thought he could pull off being emperor of Mexico, after all - but the gaping mouth makes him look more than a bit dull-witted.
Santiago Rebull Gordillo (1829 - 1902, Mexico City) Mexican painter. Of Catalan descent, he was born on a boat sailing under a British flag to Spain. (His family had had to leave Mexico on account of the Republican government's Law of Expulsion directed at native-born Spanish males.) Returning to Mexico as a teenager, he entered the Academia de San Carlos at the age of eighteen; he would become director there in 1860, continuing in that position for the next forty years. In 1851 he was awarded a prize to study at the Accademia di San Luca in Italy, where he would remain for seven years. During the brief Mexican Empire, he was made pintor de camara to the Emperor and Empress, and was decorated with the order of Guadalupe.
|1865 copy by Joaquín Ramírez of Rebull's state portrait, from which the version here was certainly taken.|