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Seven works by painters such as Pinazo, Benedito, López Mezquita or Romero de Torres are part of the exhibition "Spanish painting of the 20th century in the Ruano garden" curated by Javier Pérez Rojas (11/04/2019)

The Councilor for Culture of the City of Lorca, Agustín Llamas, has reported on the exhibition "Spanish painting of the twentieth century in the Huerto Ruano", curated by Javier Pérez Rojas, which will be exhibited in this emblematic space from tonight, when it opens 20 hours, and until next July 15.

Llamas stressed that "it is a historical show for the quality of the works present." Very few works of such value have coincided in an exhibition space Lorca, so it is a unique opportunity to enjoy the best painting of beginnings It is a small collection in terms of the number of works, seven, but immense in artistic value, because never a set of such prestigious works had shared shows in our city. "

Javier Pérez Rojas is from Lorca, although he has developed his professional career in Valencia, of whose university he was Professor of History of Art.

Researcher, scholar and collector, he has wanted to bring these extraordinary works to his hometown to conform this historical show.

The tour begins with two magnificent portraits by Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench (Valencia 1849-Godella 1916), one of the indisputable parents of the beginnings of modern painting in Spain in the last third of the nineteenth century.

A brilliant and complex artist that we can hardly fit into a specific movement because he is the initiator of different currents.

Pinazo can be said to be the first Spanish impressionist, or at least one of the most advanced in this current along with Aureliano de Beruete.

But Pinazo is also a Goya artist with clearly expressionist derivations.

Pinazo is one of the great European portrait painters of his time and was the first to obtain the highest award of the National Exhibition of 1897 for a portrait: that of José María Mellado, a masterpiece of the Spanish portrait preserved in the Museo Pinazo de Godella .

In the following National Exhibition of 1899, Pinazo obtained a new first prize for a portrait of his son, adolescent Ignacio, entitled "Memory Lesson", which is part of the Museo del Prado collection.

His career as a portraitist of Pinazo from its beginnings until the last years of his life is impressive.

The portraits that are part of the exhibition are dated in the early years of the twentieth century and reflect the richness of the author's records.

A solemn interior portrait of his friend Dr. Federico Vañó (1907) and an outdoor portrait of his wife Teresa (c.1910).

Both pieces were present in the samples that were organized in Valencia on the occasion of the artist's centenary in 2016.

Manuel Benedito Vives (Valencia 1875 Madrid 1962), was one of Sorolla's favorite disciples, who soon disassociated himself from the maestro and opened his own path in the Spanish art scene of his time as one of the most appreciated portrait painters of the aristocratic world.

Like many other painters of his generation, Benedito seeks a more rooted painting with the Hispanic soul through scenes and castizo types.

Encouraged by the example of Zuloaga, Benedito initiates after his return from Italy a tour of interior Spain, traveling in 1909 through Salamanca and Castilian lands to seek inspiration in the most ancient customs.

Castilla y León inspires works of intrahistorical intentionality;

on the other hand, he sees Andalusia seen through dark and sensual women, with mysterious eyes and deep eyes, adorned with mantillas, shawls, fans, flowers and beads;

a colorful and decorative vision, impregnated with certain symbolism.

The sensuality of the female portrait, so latent among the other Spanish painters (Romero de Torres, Zuloaga, Rodríguez Acosta), had in Benedito a brilliant cultivator.

Portraits in which the traditional image does not prevent him from showing a type of fatal woman, something vamp and mysterious, like the one on the canvas titled Mercedes that is part of the exhibition.

Julio Romero de Torres (Córdoba 1874 Córdoba 1930), is one of the most controversial and recognized artists, both in life and after his death.

The creative maturity of Romero de Torres begins to be defined at the end of 1900 with works of the purest Symbolist modernism.

From 1906 the direction of his painting changes completely looking for the line of continuity in the world of the renaissance tradition and opts for an art of regionalist content.

But the regionalism of Romero de Torres universalizes and extols a series of folk themes in which the spirit of the people is condensed.

The canvas that integrates the exhibition is Mujer con naranja (c.1920), an example of her obsession to approach a painting with psychological content where sadness and melancholy have a large role.

The Granada-born José María López Mezquita (Granada 1883 Madrid 1954) is another name with a capital letter of the Spanish painting of the beginning of the 20th.

A precocious artist who at eighteen triumphs overwhelmingly at the National Exhibition of 1901 with Cuerda de presos.

López Mezquita is another first-rate portraitist who was recognized as such in national competitions, being the second artist who, after Pinazo, gets a first medal in a National Exhibition for a portrait, that of the Bermejillo family in 1910. López Mezquita has exceptional skills to solve group compositions and characterize their models.

The picture of Operation of angina (c.1914), which is presented, is a masterpiece in this sense.

An admirable sample of the Spanish realism of those decades, which deserves to be presented in public despite the doubts it presents about its authorship;

Some experts of the work of the master from Granada do not agree on its attribution, but it is a work that undoubtedly must be discussed and known.

Taking a leap in time we find another magnificent portrait like the one that Rafael Estellés Bartual (Benimamet (1900 Valencia 1985), made of his daughter Amparo in 1953. Estellés Bartual was a painter linked to the environment of the Valencian Artistic Youth. brilliant post-impressionist landscape painter who had his best period during the twenties and thirties.Although he is less known as a portraitist, the truth is that it is in this genre where his art maintains an evident quality and interest. In the work it is at first sight imposed by the elegant contrast of color imposed by the red of the dress and the lips of the young woman, but above all it is a mysterious painting that transmits a sensation of stillness and concentration.

Of a completely different tone to the set of portraits and scenes of the exhibition is the canvas of the Aragonese Mariano Felez Bentura (Zaragoza 1883-1940) which represents a Garden of Aranjuez painted in 1912. Felez was a traveling artist who embodied very different scenarios.

Here he introduces himself as a garden painter tackling a theme that became fashionable in late modernism Santiago Rusiñol: still waters where nature is reflected and seen.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Lorca

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