The Halberdiers José Díaz and Francisco Torán
Gender and sexuality
It is not common to find a double portrait of two male figures, such as this one of the halberdiers José Díaz and Francisco Torán. The fact that they are portrayed together is probably due to the fact that they were the only two Valencians who formed part of the Royal Corps of Halberdiers on the night of the kidnap attempt against the child queen Isabella II. The Valencia Provincial Council commissioned this portrait to commemorate their courageous action.
They are depicted in the bourgeois fashion, one seated and the other standing. They clasp hands, probably to symbolize the friendship and loyalty which united them. An intimate gesture far removed from rigid military protocol which at some points may have been ambiguous. Fortunately, today virility and valour need not go hand in hand.