Pilgrimage Festival at the Hermitage - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Pilgrimage Festival at the Hermitage

Martínez Ortiz de Zárate, Nicolás

Bilbao, 03/02/1907-Madrid, 22/12/1990

Oil on canvas

90 x 121 cm

MARTINEZ / ORTIZ (bottom right hand corner)

c. 1975

Third quarter of the 20th century


Acquired in 1975

His talent for poster art is seen to good advantage in industrial advertising and posters for political, popular, sporting and bullfighting events, which means his name is forever linked to a particular manner of graphic creation. He simplified his Cubist-like figuration to achieve the kind of efficiency required for posters. He also produced murals.

This precise idiom, of great planes of colour and careful description of volume, applied to occasionally complex scenes but severely stripped away in figures and places, is also to be found in his oil paintings. In many of them he included examples of Basque traditional and popular scenes in all their picturesque glory, images of fishing ports and fishermen, of rural villages, religious processions, rural landscapes and cityscapes of Bilbao and environs.

Romeria at the Shrine describes a real festive cosmos with all the typical figures to be found in a religious procession that gives the painting its title. Rendered in complete equilibrium and clarity, despite the number of characters portrayed, the composition is resolved in two basic planes: one close up (which could in fact be broken down into two), static, where the statue-like figures, in reverent absorption, share a covered space that the column-like trunks turn into a temple; and the background, enlivened by the dynamism of the dancers, the undulation of the hills and clouds, and the line of trees. [Javier Viar]

Selected bibliography

  • Bengoechea, Javier de. Catálogo de arte moderno y contemporáneo del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. Bilbao, Banco de Vizcaya, 1980. p. 84. (Con el título Romería en la ermita).
  • Kortadi Olano, Edorta. Euskal margolariak Aurrezki Kutxen bildumetan IV = Pintores vascos en las colecciones de las Cajas de Ahorros IV. Bilbao, Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa ; Gipuzkoa Donostia Kutxa ; Caja Vital Kutxa, 1994. p. 32.
  • Nicolás Martínez Ortiz, 1907-1991 [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2007. ilustración de portada
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. p. 115.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 115.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. p. 115, n° cat. 60.