Exhibition: Patio del palacio de los Dux de Venecia - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

The guest work


2008-01-11 • 2008-03-30

Patio del palacio de los Dux de Venecia

(Courtyard of the Palace of the Dux of Venice)

Room 18

Obra Gonbidatua Bilboko Arte Eder Museoaren programa originala da. 2001ean jarri zen abian, eta, 2004az geroztik, Banco Santander Fundazioaren babesa dauka. Programa honen helburua da jendeari beste museo edo bilduma batzuetako obra bereziak helaraztea, beti ere, Museoaren bilduman dauden egileen gaineko ikuspegia aberasteko edo ordezkatuta ez dauden egileak erakusteko asmoz. Modu horretan, Programak egonkortasuna ematen dio Museoaren erakusketa-ildo tradizionaletako bati.

Oraingo honetan, hogeita batgarren edizioa ireki dugu. Edizio honek interes berezia dauka, izan ere, Santander Bildumaren jabetzakoa den Veneziako Dukeen Jauregiko patioa (1883) lana aurkezten da. Lana Martín Ricorena (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, 1833-Venezia, 1908) da, XIX. mendeko pintore garrantzitsuenetarikoarena, hain zuzen.

Bilboko Arte Eder Museoaren bildumako, Martin Ricoren, beste bi lanekin aurkezten da Obra Gonbidatu berri hau, Paisaia ibaiarekin (Venezia), c. 1878, eta Paisaia.


This is a spectacular view of the inner courtyard of the Palace of the Dux of Venice, facing the San Marcos Basilica. The latter's domes, silhouetted against a totally clear, brilliant blue sky, are seen behind the splendid palace architecture which, in turn, is bathed in the light of a radiant sun that sharply outlines its reliefs in intense chiaroscuro.

In a highly unusual format for the artist, Rico displays in this canvas his superb talent for urban landscapes - especially for an astonishingly meticulous portrayal of monumental buildings which, in this case, extends to the smallest ornamental details on the inside façades of the palace, with their perfectly-defined crests, niches and finishing touches.  This is achieved by means of clean, accurate drawing, the fruit of his very sharp observation of life interpreted through the luminous preciosity learned from his great friend Mariano Fortuny. Nevertheless, even though the imposing architecture dominates as the undisputed protagonist of this splendid canvas, Rico takes special care to include small figures whose clothing and movements are painted with extreme delicacy. Uninhibited and engaged in their daily activities, they somewhat lighten the solemnity of the overwhelming sumptuousness of the buildings. In this spirit, the man sitting on the ground next to the rim of the well, who is being watched by two children as he feeds the pigeons, the man shaking the carpet from the balustrade, and the two women wrapped in shawls who are walking towards the doorway in the background, all represent a touch of colour in a picture that is dominated by the cold grey of monumental stone.

According to the inscription on the rear, this picture was painted in 1883, during the artist's period of full maturity. It bears witness yet again to the special seduction exercised by the city of Venice on Martín Rico throughout his life, ever since he discovered it on his first trip to Italy in 1872. He was to subsequently make lengthy stays in the city of canals once he had settled in Paris, before finally dying in Venice on April 13th, 1908.
Rico must have started this picture during one of those times, although, as usual, he would have finished it in his Paris studio with the help of partial sketches which he made on the spot. Given the extraordinary success enjoyed by Martín Rico's art in European and American art circles in his day, on being considered the Fortuny of landscape, his vedutte (views) of Venice flooded the market. Nevertheless, although they generally depicted the canals and their shores, they were executed in landscape format, in a smaller size than this canvas.

José Luís Díez
Deputy Director, Museo del Prado, Madrid


Martín Rico
Patio del palacio de los Dux de Venecia (Courtyard of the Palace of the Dux of Venice, 1883
Oil on canvas, 141 x 81 cm
Santander Collection