Corpus Christi Procession in Lezo - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Corpus Christi Procession in Lezo

Salaverría, Elías

Lezo, Gipuzkoa, 16/04/1883-Madrid, 14/07/1952

Oil on canvas

74.5 x 120.5 cm

E Salaverria (bottom left hand corner)

c. 1910

First quarter of the 20th century


Acquired in 1988

On his return from a second visit to Paris, in late 1909, impressed by Lucien Simon's work Procession in Penmarc'h (1900), he began to paint the first version of Corpus Christi Procession in Lezo, which he finished before spring 1910. Headed by two priests who lead the monstrance under the pallium or canopy, the procession files down by the river Oiartzun under a leaden sky that brings out the greens in the landscape. Surrounded by their helpers, who hold candles and the pallium, the priests are followed by a trail of devout women. The severe expression on their faces bears moving witness to the spirituality of Basque country folk.

All in all, this is a vigorous painting, in which the movement of the foreshortened figures seems to engulf the spectator, making him part of the procession. Salaverría's success as a young man came to a head in 1912 when he triumphed, somewhat surprisingly, at the National Exhibition with the second, larger version of this work. In most cases, the First Medal was reserved for consolidated artists. For once, this major prize went to a young man not yet thirty years old. (Mikel Lertxundi)

Selected bibliography

  • Catálogo oficial de la Exposición Nacional de pintura, escultura y arquitectura de 1912 [Cat. exp.]. Madrid, Artes Gráficas Mateu, 1912. p. 61, n° cat. 842, il.
  • Pantorba, Bernardino de. Historia y crítica de las Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes celebradas en España. Madrid, Jesús Ramón García-Rama, 1980. pp. 218, 583.
  • Salaverria [Cat. exp.]. Donostia-San Sebastián, Museo San Telmo, 1990. p. 271.
  • Cat. Actas literarias sobre el Arte Vasco con motivo de la Exposición Internacional de 1919 celebrada en Bilbao. Bilbao, Laida, 1991. p. 168.
  • En el umbral de la modernidad : I Centenario del Diario de Burgos : 1891-1991 [Cat. exp.]. Burgos, Diario de Burgos, 1991. p. 76.
  • Paisaje y figura del 98 [Cat. exp.]. Madrid, Fundación Central Hispano, 1997. p. 41
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. p. 86.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 86.
  • Tomás, Facundo ; Garín, Felipe. "Joaquín Sorollaren erretratuak Bilboko Arte Eder Museoan = Los retratos de Joaquín Sorolla en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Portraits by Joaquín Sorolla at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum”", B'09 : Buletina = Boletín = Bulletin, n° 5. 2010. pp. 234, 237, il.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 85-86, n° cat. 40.
  • Bilboko Museoaren alfabetoa = El alfabeto del Museo de Bilbao = The alphabet of the Bilbao Museum = L'alphabet du Musée de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2018. pp. 102-202, 205-206, 209, n° cat. 113.