Portrait by Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida
Museo del Prado
Aureliano de Beruete y Moret
After pursuing a political career and taking a doctorate in civil and canon law, Aureliano De Beruete Y Moret (1845 – 1912) dedicated himself to writing on art and produced important studies on Diego Velezquez (1898), Joaqu'n Sorolla y Bastida (1901) and other artists. He travelled extensively and enthusiastically in Europe (France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, England and elsewhere), studying especially the different national schools of painting. On his travels he also painted landscapes. After working for some time as a copyist in the Museo del Prado, Beruete decided in 1873 to concentrate his efforts on painting and on learning to perfect his craft. He enrolled at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de S Fernando in Madrid and also studied at the studio of Carlos de Haes. Beruete was among the founders of the Instituci'n Libre de Enseeanza, and with its members, and with Carlos de Haes, he made several study trips abroad. In Paris he came to know the painting of the Barbizon school, and in Belgium he assimilated the teaching of the generation of landscape artists who had adopted a form of Realism.
El Tajo en Toledo
Beruete’s depiction of the Castilian landscape, in works such as El Tajo, Toledo (above), earned him iconic status with the Generación ’98, the introspective group of novelists, poets, essayists and philosophers active in Spain around the time of the Spanish-American War (April-August 1898). The painting, which measures 26 ½ by 39 ¾ inches, depicts a view of the El Tajo River, which surrounds the hilltop city of Toledo. Beruete emphasizes the sweeping austerity of the view over the natural landscape, devoid of human presence and the enigmatic shadows across the deep gorge made by the river. The river cuts through the center of the painting, forming steep diagonals directing the eye to zigzag its way deeper into the composition and emphasizing the mountainous terrain.
“The painting relates beautifully to Sorolla’s view of the same city in The Blind Man of Toledo, which was painted around the same time in 1906 and is also owned by the Meadows Museum,” said Mark A. Roglán, museum director. “In fact, Beruete’s view portrays the same side of the city, but focuses on the terrain outside the city walls. The work illustrates Spanish artists’ interest in their homeland, especially its historic towns. El Tajo marks an excellent addition to the Meadows’ collection of late 19th and early 20th-century painting by artists often described as ‘luminists’ for their ability to depict the brilliant luminosity of the Spanish sun and its effects on the landscape."
Museo Goya. Castres. Francia
Camino de los Cigarrales
Alrededores de Toledo, 1906
Vista de Toledo desde los Cigarrales
Vista de la parte occidental del norte de Toledo desde la vega baja
Vacas en las tapias del Pardo
A orillas del Manzanares, 1908-1910
Museo de San Telmo, Donostia-Kultura
Martin Rico was one of the Spanish precursors of Impressionism, and picked up some of the same influences as the French Impressionists through time spent with the Barbizon painters; and Carlos de Haes played a major role in bringing the Impressionist passion for plein air painting to Spain. They both undoubtedly had an impact on their student Beruete, who became one of the most significant Spanish exponents of the Impressionist characteristics of open brushwork and location landscape painting. His palette was a bit darker, however, and he always showed the influence of great Spanish masters of the past, including Diego Velázquez, about whom he assembled the first catalogue raisonné. Beruete was friends with the amazing painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (who painted a portrait of him), though he never fully adopted his friend’s brighter palette. Both get labeled as “Spanish Impressionists”, but neither were adherents of the French painters’ theories, nor did they feel compelled to abandon academic traditions as did their French counterparts.