RUSIÑOL Y PRATS, Santiago
(b. 1861, Barcelona, d. 1931, Aranjuez)

Biography

Spanish/Catalan painter, author, and playwright. He trained initially as an artist with Tomas Moraga. After a travel to Paris (1889) where he lived in Montmartre with Ramón Casas and with Ignacio Zuloaga, his picture adapted grey tonalities following the Whistler manner and influenced by Impressionists. His production of that period are basically landscapes, urban themes, portraits and also Art Nouveau symbolic compositions. From 1896 and after a travel to Andalusia, he started to paint gardens.

Rusiñol is best known as a painter of Spanish gardens. However, his paintings should be understood not as an extension of naturalist landscape painting, but as the culmination of a quasi-symbolist artistic vision.

Rusiñol's poetic artistic language has its roots in the time he spent in Paris in the early 1890s, and his association with the Brussels-based avant-garde group of artists known as Les XX in the 1890s, who invited other artists to exhibit with them. The group gradually became a focus point for symbolist and modernist artists, poets and writers, including James McNeill Whistler, whose influence on the Spanish artist was particularly notable. Rusiñol was struck by the American's ability to imbue nominally realist subject matter with a haunting mood, and there is no doubt that he was particularly influenced by Whistler's portrait of the artist's mother, Arrangement in Grey and Black, executing several portraits of his own in a similar idiom.

Although Rusiñol soon abandoned a monochromatic palette for colours that were extraordinarily resonant, he applied to his gardens the same visual language, that can best be understood in terms of stillness and emptiness, but imbued with a uniquely Spanish languor.

Rusiñol and his friend Casas were responsible for the introduction of Western European influences into painting in Spain.



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