Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta

Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta 1870-1945
The Cardinal 1912 (El Cardenal)
Oil on canvas 201 x 136cm
Museum of Fine Art, Bilbao (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao)

Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta 1870-1945
The Anchorite 1907 (L'anachorète, Un ascète)
Oil on canvas 118 x 115cm
Musée d'Orsay , Paris

The artist was held to be by international art critics of the early 20th century as one of the finest painters of the time. But, in Spain, Zuloaga was accused of exalting the country’s perceived backwardness

Velázquez, who he would consider his teacher, together with Zurbarán, Ribera and Goya were his main influences.

He was a painter of genre, portraits, nudes and landscapes

He was born in Eibar, in the Basque country, near the monastery of Loyola.

For a while he lived in Paris and was on friendly terms with Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Rodin, Mallarme and the Spanish painter Rusifiol.

In The Cardinal, we see a cardinal attired in sixteenth century brocaded silk. His features are worn and granite-like. Genoese velvet covers the table. A rich carpet covers the floor. In the background is a vista of a dry and parched landscape of around Segovia. Behind the cardinal stands a Christ like figure. The figure has an element of despair. In its time, the picture was famous. It was regarded as a critical comment on the Church in Spain at that time.

For a time, the picture could not be exhibited in Spain.

The portrait does remind one of Goya`s Cardinal Nino de Guevara