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Ignacio Pinazo in Italy Exhibition Continues Series of Displays at IVAM in Valencia

VALENCIA.- The Ignacio Pinazo en Italia (Ignacio Pinazo in Italy) exhibition continues the series of displays by the IVAM of the work of the brilliant Valencian painter, the aim of which is to enable research into his vast work, also ensuring that it comes to the attention of a wider audience. The previous exhibitions tended to focus on one particular theme, such as the representation of child portraits and seascapes. In contrast, this new exhibition deals with the wide range of works produced by Pinazo between 1872 and 1880. In 1872, Pinazo unsuccessfully applied for a pensión, or grant, offered by the Valencia’s provincial council, the Diputación de Valencia, which would have enabled him to study in Rome. This did not deter him from visiting Rome on his own account before returning there, this time as the successful candidate for the Rome grant – this stay in Rome lasted for four years between 1876 and 1880. This exhibition, curated by F. Javier Pérez Rojas, exhaustively studies the huge and extraordinary range of Pinazo’s painting during these years, bringing together more than 250 paintings and drawings, many of which have never been publicly exhibited before. 1870-1880 was a pivotal decade in the life and work of the artist, as it was littered with discoveries and projects which led to the creation of several of his masterpieces.

Ignacio Pinazo’s first visit to Italy, unfettered by official commitments, was very important for his development and it garnered immediate results. In Italy, he was able to see the works of the grand masters of the Renaissance and come into contact with the artistic atmosphere with which the country was blessed. Although Paris had already replaced Rome as the centre of artistic attraction and as the testing ground for modern painting, the Eternal City continued to be an international meeting point, particularly as it was home to several international academies. During his first stay, Pinazo came into contact with Fortuny’s circle in Rome, having the privilege of meeting the artist a short time before his premature death. Pinazo was a great admirer of Fortuny and Rosales, who were his true role models and points of reference at that time.

During his 1873-1874 stay, Pinazo did not undertake large compositions, preferring some studies and exquisite small-format works which were inspired by the world that immediately surrounded him. Landscapes and open-air painting became decidedly more important from this point on, as he had previously preferred to produce portraits and costumbrista paintings, focusing on local life and customs. The vision he conveys in his landscapes differs from other Valencian painters who worked in this genre. Valencian landscapists still focused on subjects which stood out for their singularity (panoramic landscapes of high mountain ranges portrayed from a realist perspective, paintings of monuments…) and although the more immediate geographical surroundings were beginning to be discovered and appreciated, no-one had done so in such a lucidly contemporary way as Pinazo had. Thus, a new way of perceiving nature emerged which soon put previous Valencian works in the shade and which was closely linked to the renaissance which Fortuny and Rosales had instigated. The series of different views and perspectives which he produced of the cloister of St John Lateran, whose sequence can now be established, are among the best works of the time. Pinazo is a pure landscapist, curious and analytical, an attentive observer of his surroundings, showing extraordinary sensibility to the way in which nature reveals its beauty. Another work from 1874 was his portrait of a Ciociara, a clear example of his interest in portraying the most authentic Italian types.

When he returned to Valencia in 1874, his artistic horizons had been considerably broadened and it was with much greater confidence that he was able to take part in the 1876 competition run by the Diputación, succeeding in his aim with the historical canvas Desembarco de Francisco I en Valencia (The Disembarkation of Francis I at Valencia). After marrying Teresa Martínez, he left for Rome and moved into number 48 on Via Margutta, the street artists preferred to have their workshops in. His work during these four years was extraordinary with very little overlap with the work other artists were producing at the time. Pinazo did not only rigorously send off the works which the terms of his grant required, but he found time to undertake hundreds of studies and first-hand oil sketches. These, alongside the huge number of drawings which he produced, constitute a most lively chronicle of Italian life, underlining the universality of his work. Pinazo here initiated the much discussed and so-called Valencian Luminism, indisputably being one of its founders. Beach scenes, urban landscapes, popular types and even historical themes were all dealt with from a clearly modern perspective.

These works produced during the years of his Italian grant alone would be enough to earn him a place in the front rank of the European painters of his time. Canvases such as El guardavía (The Signalman), Juegos icarios (Icarian Games), Baco niño (Child Bacchus) or Las hijas del Cid (The Cid’s Daughters) are some of the paintings he sent back to the Diputación de Valencia. Another body of work is made up by his nude studies, which are among the most original and suggestive pieces from his Italian period. They can now be viewed together, uncovering the stages of the artistic process. Las hijas del Cid or Friné (Phryne) are excellent examples of his mastery in the representation of nudes. Pinazo’s impressionism in his Italian period can also be seen in his first-hand studies and sketches.

A series of pieces of indisputable historical value have now been identified and documented, taking in the funerals of King Vittorio Emanuele and Pope Pius IX. His journey to Venice was also captured in a fascinating group of views of the city of the lagoon. His stay in Italy culminated in the canvas Don Jaime I en el momento de entregar la espada al infante Don Pedro (King James Handing Over His Sword to Prince Peter). The complex and demanding nature of Pinazo’s painting becomes obvious when one views the countless studies that he undertook for this canvas. These are now exhibited as a group at the IVAM to coincide with the celebration of 800th anniversary of the monarch’s birth and these studies and sketches are magnificent portraits in their own right.



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