Lectura (Reading)

Julio Romero de Torres

Cordoba, Spain, 1874 - 1930
  • Date: 
    1901-1902 (circa)
  • Technique: 
    Oil on paper glued to canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    95 x 160 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

The work of Julio Romero de Torres is inspired by a wide range of artistic sources, from traces of Federico de Madrazo and Mariano Fortuny to the Realism of Gustave Courbet, not to mention the work of Aureliano de Beruete, Darío de Regoyos and Joaquín Sorolla, and of course, the iconographic academicism derived from Andalusian folklore. However, his essential references come especially from Symbolism and the Pre-Raphaelites, movements with which Romero de Torres initially became familiar through photographs, and later in the course of his trips to France, England, Italy, the Netherlands and Morocco. Lectura (Reading, ca. 1901–1902) is from the period from 1874 to 1908, which marked the emergence of the artist’s most established and popular style. It is characterised primarily by formal decorativism, as well as profound symbolic content depicted through allegorical representations. This painting betrays signs of what would come to be the constant features of Romero de Torres’s mature period, including formal precision and a mastery of drawing. It is also possible to discern the softness which the painter would use in the future to depict flesh and robes. The light hits them gently, accentuating the rippling folds of the cloth, under which it is always possible to make out the bodies of the models. The skilful and meticulous technique used on this updated “Goyesque maja” with the lost gaze involves glaze applied over thin layers of paint. The colours are those commonly used by the painter, primarily browns and greys. Beside them, the blues, greens, carmines and vermilions stand out, while also remaining muted.

Paloma Esteban Leal