Manuel Gómez-Moreno González (Granada 1834-1918) was an exceptionally multi-faceted artist in his generation and among the great artists of all time. His intellectual and professional training were closer to erudite humanistic thinking than the predominant ideas of his age, as his education was f...read more
Manuel Gómez-Moreno González (Granada 1834-1918) was an exceptionally multi-faceted artist in his generation and among the great artists of all time. His intellectual and professional training were closer to erudite humanistic thinking than the predominant ideas of his age, as his education was founded on his reading and knowledge of books by classical foreign writers such as Mengs and Winckelmann, and Spanish authorities such as Carducho and Palomino. He studied the work of the Romantic artists and engravers in depth, also taking an interest in archaeology and architecture, making a thorough study of techniques such as perspective, and learning anatomy with a view to having a perfect knowledge of the measurements and proportions of the human body.
He studied at the Academy of Fine arts in Granada and at the Special School of Painting in Madrid, where he was taught by Juan Antonio and Luis Ribera and Federico de Madrazo. While he was in Madrid he worked as a copyist in the Prado Museum, an experience that helped him to earn his living when he returned to Granada, as did his skill in portraiture and the restoration of paintings.
The official presentation of his work in Granada took place at the exhibition held during the Corpus Christi celebrations in 1861, when his painting La Piedad (Pietà) won the silver medal in the contest held at the event. In the following year's exhibition he won the gold medal for his Expolio de Jesús (The Disrobing of Christ). His activities in the city's intellectual circles grew to such an extent that from 1869, when he was appointed teacher of drawing at the Colegio San Bartolomé y Santiago, until 1878, he was burdened by public commitments and ever increasing responsibilities. Among them I would single out his work as Director of the Commission for Historical and Artistic Monuments, for which he published a programme of projects related to his work in archaeological research, leading to his being proposed as corresponding member of the San Fernando Academy. This left him little time to paint but in 1878 he was offered a bursary by the Granada Provincial Council to spend two years in Rome perfecting his technique. He enjoyed a degree of personal and financial stability but this development changed his life, reviving his artistic aspirations. He did not hesitate to accept and immediately enrolled at the famous Giggi Academy, where his technique evolved considerably. He completed his stay in Italy with a journey to various cities of special artistic interest and was particularly fascinated by Herculaneum and Pompeii because of their links with the research he had never forgotten, and by Venice.
When he returned to Granada he enjoyed the best years of his life professionally and considerable prestige in the numerous public positions he once again held, trying to manage and conserve the city's and the province's artistic heritage, organising events and competitions related to the arts, encouraging and promoting intellectual and university life and archaeological and historical research in the city.
AGUSTÍN MARTÍNEZ PELÁEZ: El mercado del arte y la pintura granadina del siglo XIX, Universidad de Granada, 2006, pp. 283-284 (Unpublished doctoral thesis)Read less