1833 - 1908
A Seascape with Land glimpsed through Ship Masts and Sails
Martin Rico lived and worked in Madrid but developed a truly international reputation and following. He was a great believer in plein-air painting and stuck to its mantra throughout his career.
Rico first studied under Jenaro Pérez Vilaamil in the Academia de Bellas Arte de San Fernando and this developed in him a fierce romantic side to his landscape. In 1860 he was awarded a government sponsorship which enabled him to travel to Paris.
Now in France the artistic tradition of the Barbizon School fascinated him, in particular the paintings of Charles-François Daubigny. His art begins to depict the landscape in a more Realist style and it was only the political unrest of the Franco-Prussian War that forced him to return to his native Madrid.
He soon moved to Granada with Marià Fortuny and his wife Cecilia. Together with Ricardo de Madrazo the three artists worked closely (so much so that often Rico's watercolours are sometimes confused with those of Fortuny). His artistic output rose dramatically during this period and he was clearly very happy in Andalucia.
In 1873 he went to Italy with Fortuny. They visited Rome, Naples, Florence and in what was to prove a metaphorical lightening strike to his art, Venice. The city so inspired Rico that he went back every summer and created some of the finest late 19th Century views of the 'City of Light'. He spent many days anchored to a canal in his gondola painting en plein-air. Fittingly he was in Venice when he died aged 74.
Private Collection, Spain