JULIO ROMERO DE TORRES

Cordoba, 1874 – Cordoba, 1930

Blessing

Oil and tempera on canvas

130 x 110 cm

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It is said of this work that the model that represents the pregnant woman is his wife. Francisca de Pellicer, with whom he married in 1899, had three children with the painter. It is aesthetically included among the other paintings such as Carmen, Nieves, María Rosario, Fuensanta, titles that inspire the novels of his great friend Valle-Inclán, and dated in the first decade of the 1900s, especially in the composition and in the range of colors used . There are other paintings of the same title, although almost the only thing common among them is the position of the hand with the index and middle fingers to bless, as an exaltation of the spiritual. In this case supported by the doorway, and dressed in simple clothes, to which a red shawl that falls on his shoulder and gently holds with his hands, taking advantage to teach, and perhaps indicating his pregnancy. Silence, austerity, define the scene. Surprisingly unpublished work, and although mentioned at times, has not been exposed before.

The fact that his father, Rafael Romero Barros, was, in addition to a painter, curator of the Museo de Bellas Artes de Córdoba, influenced the vocation of the seventh of his children. After studying at the Instituto Góngora in his city, he decided to enroll in the Conservatorio de Música de Córdoba in 1884, while receiving drawing and painting classes from his father, along with his brothers Rafael and Enrique.

His first known work is La Huerta de Morales (1890). In 1895 he presented to the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes with the work Mira que bonita era (Julio Romero de Torres Museum, Córdoba) with which he gets an honorable mention and is acquired by the State. In 1897 he decided to apply for the prize of Rome with a clear Consciousness (Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo), but did not get the coveted scholarship. In 1902 he was appointed professor of the Cátedra de Colorido, Dibujo y Copia de la Escuela de Bellas Artes de Córdoba and in 1903 an associate professor at the Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales. That same year he was commissioned to decorate the Real Círculo de la Amistad de Córdoba with a cycle of wall paintings, so he decided to move to Madrid to familiarize himself with the symbolist murals. In the capital, he joins the Valle-Inclán circle and frequents the house of the Machado, strengthening his friendship with Manuel.

He made the six murals dedicated to the arts for the Real Círculo de la Amistad de Córdoba: Painting, Sculpture, Music, Literature, Love Song and the genius of the transfiguration (all in situ) in which the influence of Puvis de Chavannes is evidenced. He continues to live in Madrid, where he gradually matures his own style and presents Vividoras del amor (Fondos de Arte Caja Canarias) to the Exposición Nacional of 1906, which is rejected with the consequent scandal for its rugged theme. In 1907 he participated in the Exhibition of the Círculo de Bellas in Madrid, a city where he remains and where he frequents the gathering of Café de Levante with Zuloaga, Ricardo Baroja and Gutiérrez Solana. The decision to travel to France, England, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Morocco marks an inflection in his career that will be manifested in his later works in a will to change. He obtains a first medal in the Exposición Nacional of 1908 with Musa Gitana, bought by the the Spanish government and sends his paintings to the International Exhibitions of Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile.

In 1910 he received the order of Alfonso X El Sabio and was appointed inspector of the delegation and royal police station at the Art Exhibition in Rome, and the following year he received the gold medal at the Exposición de Bellas Artes de Barcelona for his Altarpiece of Love. He is appointed numerary academic of the Academia de Ciencias, Bellas y Nobles Artes of Córdoba although he continues to reside in Madrid, where from 1913 he frequents the Pombo Café gathering. In 1915 he was awarded a special room at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes and the following year he was appointed professor of clothing at the Academia de Bellas San Fernando in Madrid. He installs a studio in Pelayo street, which years later will become a center for gatherings and meetings. In 1928 he was declared a serious illness for which reason he decided to return to Córdoba to recover; However, kept painting. He participates for the last time in the Ibero-American Exhibition of Seville of 1930 with twenty-eight paintings, since he dies on May 10 of that same year.

Romero de Torres, like many other painters of his generation, began practicing a regionalist painting, to adhere later to the symbolist aesthetic and lead, from 1912, in a very personal style that combines the Andalusian popular feeling and the most genuine folklore with the tradition of Italian art of the Renaissance. Through a precise drawing and balanced compositions in which he uses bluish, greenish and, above all, black colors, he gives his works a halo of poetry and mystery. It usually shows the Andalusian woman in the foreground, behind which it represents wide landscape scenarios, which sometimes includes architectural elements and small figures.

Enrique Santos

Technical data

JULIO ROMERO DE TORRES

Cordoba, 1874 – Cordoba, 1930

Blessing

Oil and tempera on canvas

130 x 110 cm

Private collection, Córdoba