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The wall of El Pardo
Beruete, Aureliano de
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Beruete, Aureliano de

Madrid (Spain), 1845 - Madrid (Spain), 1912

Beruete, Aureliano de See author's file

The wall of El Pardo

1911. Oil on canvas.
Not on display
Though it had been painted by many landscape artists since the middle of the nineteenth century, Aureliano de Beruete made the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range his primary subject, from the beginning of his career to the end. For him, these mountains north of Madrid represented the backbone of Spain, structuring the two central regions that flank it to the north and south: the tablelands of Old Castile and New Castile (according to the former nomenclature for these regions). Furthermore, it was a landscape with deep roots in historical tradition, for it was there that Velázquez had set his portraits of members of the royal family in hunting dress for the Torre de la Parada. Velázquez, who had become, in those years, a model for modern painters, was not only an aesthetic guide for Beruete, but also a subject of stylistic and historical investigation. Beruete came to be a true expert on Velázquez's painting, as is evident in his important monograph on the painter from Seville, published in French and soon after translated into English and German. The artist's naturalistic approach in the present work, his long, flowing brushwork, and the beauty of his colours evoke the backgrounds of paintings by the great Spanish master from the seventeenth century.
In addition, Beruete displays the subtlety of observation that is characteristic of a painter accustomed to working exclusively -and without interruption- en plein air. Even in the last year of his life he would take advantage of the cold months of March and April to capture the mountain tops still covered in snow, as in this painting. To do so, he would often make a trip to El Pardo, the extensive wooded lands surrounding the royal palace that were full of native vegetation- holm oaks, cork trees and rockroses. The property, owned by the Crown, was marked by a wall that exists to this day.
Here, the artist successfully represents the sandy alluvial soil, made up of sediments eroded from the mountains, whose softness leads to the frequent formation of gullies and undulations. The local climate is continental and cold because of its altitude (around 700 metres) and because of its exposure to winds from the north. Beruete articulated the various planes of the landscape coherently, thanks in part to gradations in colour and also to the presence of the wall marking the forward border of the middle ground, which concludes at the line of the foothills. Instead of the short brushstrokes characteristic of the Impressionists, Beruete preferred, in the tradition of Velázquez, longer brushstrokes whose flowing movement seems to caress the canvas. His subtlety in capturing an image painted from life is apparent in the conjunction of difficult greenish tones with their various nuances and limpid beauty and in the mauves and violets of the wall. The sky, occupying two thirds of the canvas, is the most dominant element of the painting, as is often the case in other small-format works by the artist. The presence of clouds and snowy peaks in the distance indicates how the artist worked even on the cold days of early spring. His rented automobile would provide shelter as he painted works on smaller canvases while protected inside the car from the inclement weather. And, if the weather was fine, he could execute larger works, as he did at the property inherited by his wife María Teresa Moret, the daughter of segismundo Moret (P4466), at El Plantío on the northern outskirts of Madrid, as well as at El Pardo, where he depicted the wall represented here in various paintings with a similar framing, among them those that now belong to the Hispanic Society of America in New York and to the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza collection in Málaga (Barón, J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 248).

Technical data

Inventory number
Beruete, Aureliano de
The wall of El Pardo
Height: 47.5 cm; Width: 53.3 cm
Bequest of Aureliano de Beruete y Moret for the Museo de Arte Moderno, 1913

Bibliography +

Marín Valdés, F.A., Aureliano de Beruete: Cartas a Joaquin Sorolla, Liño, 5, 1985, pp. 86-88.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas del siglo XIX, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1985, pp. 41.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Portrait of Spain : masterpieces from The Prado / [Gabriele Finaldi, Javier Portús], Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (Australia), 2012, pp. 248-249, nº92.

Díez, J.L. (dir.), Pintura del Siglo XIX en el Museo del Prado: catálogo general, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 105.

Other inventories +

Registros-Inventarios Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, 1900-1936. Núm. 57-B.

Actas traslado de obras MEAC - Prado, 1971-1973. Núm. 921.

Registro del Museo de Arte Moderno, 1954. Núm. 296.

Inscriptions +

A. de Beruete
Signed. Front, lower left corner

Tapia del Pardo / Madrid 1911

Exhibitions +

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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