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The Roscoff sphinx

José Nogué Massó1910 - 1910

Museu d'Art Modern de Tarragona

Museu d'Art Modern de Tarragona

La Esfinge de Roscoff (The Sphinx of Roscoff) Triptych painted in Brittany in 1910, without doubt one of Nogué’s major works. Its title comes from the similarity between a rock on the coast of Brittany and the Sphinx of Gizeh. Nogué was able to transfer to canvas, with admirable success, the misty atmosphere and the restless sea, creating a romantic and melancholic vision of this unique enclave on the coast of Brittany. To achieve this, he applied divisionism for the first time, a style which he himself describes by stating that “in reality it involved dividing the brushstrokes and colours in such a way that manages to produce a sense of vibration, which is impossible to achieve with a large brushstroke and a single shade”. Of the three panels that made up the original work, only the central panel, the largest and most important one, and the right side remain. The location of the left side, the work in which the artist’s signature appears, is unknown. The absence of this part gives the work a rather mysterious air. José Nogué Massó (1880-1973) He was trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid, completed his studies at the Spanish School of Rome and lived in Italy until 1923, when he moved to Jaen as a professor of drawing; he was also a teacher in Madrid and at the School of Arts and Crafts in Barcelona. His work, framed within realist lines, is notable for great technical skill and special attention to the effects of light

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