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View of Toledo
Arredondo y Calmache, Ricardo
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Arredondo y Calmache, Ricardo

Cella, Teruel (Spain), 1850 - Toledo (Spain), 1911

Arredondo y Calmache, Ricardo See author's file

View of Toledo

1900 - 1905. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

Toledo was one of the cities that attracted the interest of artists and writers, from the romantics to the Generation of 1898. It possessed a rich and varied past, from its pre-Roman origins to its status as the capital of the Visigoths; as the city later renowned for the relatively peaceful cohabitation of Muslims, Jews and Christians during the period of Moorish rule; and, finally, as the imperial city of Charles V, making it the urban historical monument par excellence in Spain, offering artists appealing subject matter. Furthermore, in the last years of the nineteenth century, two other circumstances led to Toledo often being portrayed by artists from Martín Rico to Joaquín Sorolla. First of all, its unique topographical configuration, situated atop a hill surrounded by a curve in the Tagus River, led its most assiduous painters, such as Aureliano de Beruete and Ricardo Arredondo y Calmache, to represent the city from the outskirts in order to reveal the geological peculiarities of its surroundings. In doing so, they followed the intellectual orientation of the Free Institute of Education (Institución Libre de Enseñanza), which viewed the landscape as the element around which geography and history were articulated: the key to the proper interpretation of the Spanish nation. Secondly, the rediscovery of El Greco -an artist closely linked to Toledo- increased the prestige of the city as a setting for artistic creations representing what was thought of as uniquely and essentially Spanish.Arredondo was, among his contemporaries, the artist who gave the most attention to Toledo, a city in which he lived. Not only did he portray its monuments, streets and squares, but he also situated it within panoramic views encompassing surrounding areas. In this painting from around the turn of the century -one of the most important works from Arredondo´s mature period- he represents a view of Toledo´s western side. The painter chose a horizontal format in which an orderly succession of buildings, prominent among them the Hospital de la Misericordia and the synagogue of El Tránsito, present a soft downward slope toward the right -from the cliffs of the so-called Roca Tarpeya (Tarpeian Rock) to the Discalced Franciscans´ convent of San Gil- to which the contrary direction of the river serves as a counterweight. The green notes of the gardens of the Paseo del Tránsito liven up the ochres and greys of the architecture. The hill on the right, the Cerro de la Cabeza, with its cigarrales (country villas) completes the composition, standing in opposition to the eminence on which the city across the river was built. In the foreground, we see two peasants travelling on their donkeys -omnipresent figures in Toledo and frequently represented by artists- along the path down to the mills of Solanilla and the road to Navalpino. The bridge of San Martín is not included in the composition, despite Arredondo including it in other landscapes painted from this same vantage point. In this case, the bridge would be to the left of what we see here.This work is representative of Arredondo´s mature period, in which he seeks to capture light with a delicateness that reveals certain commonalities with Beruete, with whom he often painted. These include rosy tones and soft blues and greens, as well as the careful gradation of ochres. Yet, although the painting represents the midday light, Arredondo´s colours are less vivid than those typical of the painter from Madrid. In the steep barren slopes of the river gorge and in the cliffs of the Tarpeian Rock, the painter presents the rugged drama of the hill topped by the monumental city, expressing its essential character in this fusion of nature and history (Barón, J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 244).

Technical data

Inventory number
Arredondo y Calmache, Ricardo
View of Toledo
1900 - 1905
Height: 48.5 cm; Width: 99 cm
Museo de Arte Moderno

Bibliography +

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, El Pintor de Toledo: Ricardo Arredondo (1850-1911), Arte Español, XXVI, 1969, pp. 1-33.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas del siglo XIX, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1985, pp. 26.

Muñoz Herrera, J.P., Arredondo, Pintor de Toledo, Junta de Castilla la Mancha, Toledo, 2002, pp. 311, nº 129.

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 244-245, nº90.

Díez, J.L. (dir.), Pintura del Siglo XIX en el Museo del Prado. Catálogo general, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 82.

El arte de saber ver: Manuel B. Cossío, la Institución Libre de Enseñanza, Fundación Francisco Giner de los Ríos, 2016, pp. f.138.

Other inventories +

Actas traslado de obras MEAC - Prado, 1971-1973. Núm. 32.

Registro del Museo de Arte Moderno, 1954. Núm. 196.

Inscriptions +

R. Arredondo / Toledo
Signed. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Manuel B. Cossío, El Greco y la Institución Libre de Enseñanza
24.07.2017 - 19.11.2017

Manuel B. Cossío, El Greco y la Institución Libre de Enseñanza
28.11.2016 - 02.07.2017

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

Ricardo Arredondo
01.04.2002 - 30.06.2002

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

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