Martín Rico Y Ortega Spain
11-12-1833 Madrid, ESP – 4-13-1908 Venice, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Martín Rico y Ortega was one of the most important artists of the second half of the nineteenth century in his native country, and enjoyed wide international recognition as well, especially in France and the United States.
Martín Rico y Ortega received his earliest formal training at the city’s Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, where he studied under Jenaro Pérez Villaamil, the Academy’s first professor of landscape painting. Under the tutelage of Pérez Villaamil, Rico’s earliest works show him influenced by Romanticism. In 1860, having been awarded a government-sponsored scholarship, Rico moved to Paris to continue his studies.
Once in France, Martín Rico y Ortega looked to the artists of the Barbizon school for inspiration, and Charles-François Daubigny in particular. His landscapes from this decade thus depict the French and Swiss countryside in a fully accomplished Realist style.
At the invitation of his good friend and colleague Marià Fortuny, Rico moved to the southern city of Granada, joining Fortuny and his wife Cecilia, as well as the painter Ricardo Madrazo. The three artists worked closely during this period, with the styles of Rico and Fortuny overlapping so much that their watercolors—a specialty for both artists—were often confused for one another.
In 1873 Martín Rico y Ortega and Fortuny traveled together to Italy, stopping in Rome, Naples, Florence and Venice: it was Venice, more than any other city he had previously visited, that captured Rico’s artistic imagination. From this first trip until his death thirty-six years later, Rico spent every summer with the exception of one working in the Italian “City of Light.” Venice’s unique setting, with its plazas, churches and canals, as well as its magnificent light, attracted many artists, including Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Pierre Renoir and Federico del Campo.
Joining this group of artists while following in the tradition of the Italian vedute of the eighteenth century, Martín Rico y Ortega frequently painted his Venetian scenes en plein air, often from a gondola anchored to a canal or from the window of his room located in the Dorsoduro neighborhood.
Influences: Jenaro Pérez Villaamil, Charles-François Daubigny
Traveled: Italy, France