Nude on the beach, Fortuny

Nude on the beach, Fortuny
Nude on the beach, Fortuny

The Nude on the Beach of Portici is a small oil painting on wood by the Spanish artist Mariano Fortuny. This small work, which is only slightly larger than a postcard or card, captures the unique artistic qualities of one of the most representative figures of the Spanish 19th century.

After the death of Franco de Goya, no artist had revolutionized Spanish painting as much as Fortuny. Mariano José María Bernardo Fortuny y Marsal was born in the town of Reus in 1838. Being very young, the artist lost his parents, so at the tender age of six he passed into the care of his grandfather. He soon understood the worth of his grandson and encouraged his art by sending him to the workshop of some well-known painters of his time as well as to the School of Fine Arts in La Lonja. Fortuny traveled to Rome as a scholarship holder and there he was able to see not only the works of the most outstanding artists in history, but also that of other Spanish painters of his time who strongly influenced him. Upon his return to Spain, Fortuny was sent to Morocco as a chronicler of the First Moroccan War, there he discovered a fascinating world that he captured in some of his best-known works. Although his career was cut short by his sudden death,Fortuny was a highly valued artistcompleting some of the most outstanding commissions of his time


Of the artist it has always been said that, if he had hada life as long as that of Goya or Velázquez Fortuny would have made him one of the most outstanding geniuses of Spanish painting of all time. The work that concerns us here is a small painting that the artist made during his vacations with the family in Portici beach; at that time the artist was debating between a comfortable painting that appeals to the general public and that provides a stable life or to represent on his canvases the new ideas that arrive from France and that seem to please the public so much painter, this nude on the beach would be one of these second works.

Thrown face down in the water and enjoying the sun and the sea as only children know how, Fortuny represents a child who bathes in the sea. Because of his posture, we couldn't even tell if it was a boy or a girl, however other canvases made by the painter at the same time make us see thatit is about his youngest son. His casual posture, leaning his head on his arms, with one leg on the other… reminds us of some of the classicist statues that the artist was able to see during his stay in Italy.

Special mention deserves the reflections that the artist has represented in the sea, the incidence of light in the water clearly shows the influence of Impressionist artists such as Monet or other Spaniards closer to Fortuny such as Sorolla.

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