Martín Rico y Ortega, “The Ladies’ Tower in the Alhambra of Granada,” 1871, oil on canvas, 25 x 15 3/4 in. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Bequest of Ramón de Errazu
Impressions of Europe: 19th-century Vistas by Martín Rico is the first ever comprehensive exhibition afforded to one of the key figures in landscape and plein air painting of the 19th century. After its debut at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the exhibition has arrived at the Meadows Museum of Art on the campus of Southern Methodist University, where it will be on view through July 7.
Impressions of Europe features 106 works of art, including paintings, drawings, and sketchbooks. Rico’s subjects range from the urban landscapes of Paris and Venice to rural scenes from his native Spain. Yet it was not only grand vistas that provoked Rico’s artistic imagination: his sketchbooks reveal an interest in the women, men, and animals populating Europe’s great cities and quiet villages.
Martín Rico y Ortega, “View of Paris from the Trocadero,” 1883, oil on canvas, 31 x 63 in. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Gift of Marquesa de Manzanedo
Mark A. Roglán, director of the Meadows, gave this statement: “Rico was hugely influential in the rise of new approaches to landscape painting, but until now there has been no comprehensive exhibition that brings together pieces from every phase of his career. By showing the full breadth of his work and developing a catalogue with new scholarship on Rico we are shedding new light on the rise of Realist landscape as a pivotal 19th-century movement. Equally important, we are bringing Rico’s work to new audiences internationally.”
Martín Rico y Ortega (1833-1908) was among the most prominent Spanish painters in the second half of the 19th century. He traveled across Europe, copying the works of the greatest landscape artists, and he truly established himself in Venice, where he spent the last three decades of his life. Rico’s style is uniquely his own, blending naturalism and impressionism and demonstrating equal skill in developing smart compositions and capturing momentary lighting effects. Rico is famed for painting in gondolas stationed in Venice’s many canals and holds an especially important place in the history of plein air painting.
Martín Rico y Ortega, “On the Seine,” 1869, oil on canvas, 15 1/4 x 25 1/2 in. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup
Impressions of Europe is the fourth exhibition realized from the partnership of the Meadows and the Prado (other partnered exhibitions have focused on the works of El Greco, Ribera, and Velázquez). The show was curated by Javier Barón, chief curator of 19th-century paintings at the Prado. For more information, visit smu.edu/meadowsmuseum.
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