Home loans, Santiago Rusiñol i Prats1889
As great as they are, the usual suspects do dominate the art discourse when it comes to European art of the 19th and early 20th century. Of course, those names, which some of you are very familiar with, are eminently deserving of their reputation. However, once in a while one chances upon a name that is rarely heard despite the artist’s extraordinary talent on a par with the superstars of the era. One such name, which at least I had not heard about until yesterday, is that of the Spanish master painter, poet and playwright Santiago Rusiñol (1861-1931).
What I saw on Google Cultural Institute has been astonishing. His sense of colors, perspectives and dimensions is breathtaking. I have cited some of his works here which grabbed my attention. Take for instance, the one at the top titled ‘Home Loans’. The light is so brilliantly subtle in various corners. See the textures and tones of the cobblestones, wood, the mournful woman’s robe, the algae on the right hand side, the worn-out door, the unevenness of the floor and the way the light changes in between; all of that illustrate a supremely gifted artist. Look at the way Santiago manages to contrast the black of the woman’s robe against the dark of the staircase.
In the one painting you see more talent than what many other lesser artists display in dozens.
‘The Morphine’s Girl’ (below) is another example of Santiago’s remarkable eye for form, light, demeanor, and texture. Look at the way the woman is clutching the sheet and the way her head is slightly elevated. The model was a morphine addict called Stephanie Nantas, who was one of Santiago’s favorite models.
The Morphine's Girl, Santiago Rusiñol i Prats1894
Then there is this one below titled ‘Blue Court Yard’, which is my current favorite because of the captivating use of indigo-blue of the walls and orange in flowers and gold fish. Once again, Santiago triumphs with perspective and colors.
Blue Courtyard. Arenys de Munt, Santiago Rusiñol 1913
Since September 22 marks the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, I also cite his 1911 work titled ‘The Landing Stage’ showing some fall colors.
The Landing Stage, Santiago Rusiñol 1911
Finally, there is ‘Portrait of Miquel Utrillo’ which I find remarkable for several reasons, including its perspective depth, subtle color variations and the way he has been able to distinguish between the real life man, Miguel and the statue in the foreground. When you zoom in, you see so many different hues of green/sap green.
If you are into such things I suggest you visit Santiago’s collection.