Modest Urgell was one of the most significant and original landscape painters of the Restoration years. He was trained at the Llotja School in Barcelona and in the workshop of Ramón Martí Alsina, who was the top representative of Realism in Catalonia. He then spent some time in Paris, where it appears that he got to know Gustave Courbet. From the outset of his career he used pictorial representation in order to express a profoundly personal view of landscape, imbued with intensely romantic feelings of loneliness and melancholy. His production as a whole was characterised by the reiteration of themes: rural cemeteries, ruinous and tumble-down hamlets, inhospitable churches, and solitary boats run aground on beaches. These scenes were lit up with the shadowy light of dusk which often gave them a dream-like quality that was almost surreal.

The landscape in the possession of Santander Collection constitutes a typical exponent of his pictorial style. It clearly shows the personal synthesis between realistic execution and subjective poetry. It portrays a rural landscape illumined by the last light of day. The predominant compositional horizontality is only interrupted by some humble rural structures that accentuate the derelict, desolate, nature of the landscape. Everything radiates a feeling of absolute calm, solitude and dreaminess.


  • Title: Landscape
  • Creator Lifespan: 1839 - 1919
  • Creator Nationality: Spanish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Barcelona
  • Creator Birth Place: Barcelona
  • Date Created: 1839 - 1919
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w1630 x h940 mm (Complete)
  • Painter: Modest Urgell
  • Exhibition: Madrid, Spain
  • Credit Line: Signed in the bottom right corner, “Urgell”
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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