Agustín de Riancho (1841-1929)
Oil on canvas, 232 x 452 cm
This is a large-format work, totally unusual in the catalogue of the Cantabrian artist and possibly the product of a commission executed shortly after he returned from his long stay (more than 20 years) in Belgium. The canvas is wide and all-encompassing, with a generous composition of the landscape that is typical in Riancho. It is structured horizontally in the shape of a “U”, with a wood of oaks and alders divided by the central course of a river. It is a landscape characteristic of his career and forms part of his most bourgeois pictorial period, when he adapted to the local tastes of Santander of that time.
Although this landscape does not have the fresh, modern naturalism that nearly always characterised him, mainly on account of the enormous spread of the format and the adaptation to local tastes, the obvious unity of the entire composition nevertheless comes to the fore, as well as his passionate love of nature. A curious feature is the solitary presence of a fisherman, rod in hand, with a white shirt and his head covered by a no-less curious red beret. The fisherman affords us an idea of the proportions of the landscape; he does not constitute an element that would justify classifying the work as costumbrista (i.e. the genre that portrays local customs and manners) – and is not intended to be a chronicle of something – although the canvas may include this regionalist feature.
Salvador Carretero Rebés