Bust of an Elderly Woman - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Bust of an Elderly Woman

Torre, Quintín de

Bilbao, 18/04/1877-Bilbao, 15/10/1966

Polychrome marble

52.2 x 48.6 x 30 cm

First half of the 20th century


Donated by the widow of Ustera in 1980

His beautifully executed oeuvre is distinguished by a powerful realism and by the search for an expressive quality of a kind most closely associated with Meunier and with Spanish sculpture of the 16th and 17th centuries. De Torre revived the tradition of polychrome sculpture in stone and wood and, despite also using bronze and mastering casting techniques, remained especially interested in the techniques of carving, by no means a popular medium at the time.

Although his love of Baroque imagery distanced him from the leading-edge aesthetic trends of the day, in his realist busts and portraits one may find variations in expressive intensity ranging from naturalism to an almost classical idealization, the latter proof of his interest in the sculpture of the Italian Quattrocento. Portrait of a Young Woman and Bust of an Elderly Woman showcase his skill as a sculptor, which allows him to capture the physical features and the character of both sitters with pinpoint accuracy. In the former, where the artist portrays his subject almost as if it were a camera snapshot, the visible parts of the woman's body are painted in oils to imitate the natural flesh tones. [Miriam Alzuri]

Selected bibliography

  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 72-73.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. pp. 72-73.
  • Jaureguiberry, Michel de ... [et. al.]. Euskal zizelkariak = Escultores vascos = Sculpteurs basques. Ziburu-Ciboure, Arteaz, 2011. p. 185.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 71-72, n° cat. 33c.