After his highly important Modernist period, in which he successively represented a special echo of French Impressionism and gave his personal view of Symbolism, while at the same time becoming one of the main authors in the Catalan language, Santiago Rusiñol discovered the gardens at Aranjuez in 1898. Although he did not show much enthusiasm for the place at first, it soon became one of his favourite pictorial motifs. Indeed, he went there so frequently that he was appointed “Honourable Head Gardener of the Royal Gardens of Aranjuez” by Alfonso XIII, precisely in the same year in which he painted this picture (1916).
Rusiñol’s gardens – a theme that lasted until his death (coincidentally also in Aranjuez) - often ended up being repetitive and formulaic, and were looked down upon by critics for a long time, although they were moderately vindicated by several French art historians (Jean-Paul Cruz, Genevieve Barbée and Elisée Trenc) as genuine exponents of pictorial Symbolism.
The painting in question belongs to the culminating period of Rusiñol’s maturity as a garden painter: the powerful presence of the tall plane trees, the play of the vertical lines of their thick trunks, the evocative theme of the path disappearing into the distance (so dear to Rusiñol, the eternal painter), make this work one of the artist’s most successful and convincing.