A SCULPTOR'S LIFE
Julio Antonio Rodríguez Hernández (1889-1919)
Julio Antonio started to draw at a very early age and his academic training was minimal. He received his first lessons in this field from a teacher from Mora del Ebro, Lluís Vinyes Viñales. He would later attend the classes of Maria Pedrol at Ateneu Tarraconense de la Clase Obrera, training which he would continue, working with various sculptures such as Bernat Verderol, Feliu Ferré i Galzeran and Miquel Blay; it was at the workshop of the Olot sculptor where he received the best training in this discipline.
Drawing was vitally important to our sculptor, he did it at anytime and anywhere, and with a constant and almost absolute subject matter in his output, the human figure, except for the architectural environments he designed for this monument projects. Only in the beginning did he produce drawings of urban landscapes, which he presented at his first exhibition in Tarragona in 1908, most of which are now lost.
It was at the workshop of Miquel Blay where he was first able to draw in a favourable environment, which he took full advantage of. Santos Torroella told us that he worked intensely there, as he also did at the Circle of Fine Art of Madrid. The influence of modernism is notable in his work during these years.
On leaving the workshop of Miquel Blay, Julio Antonio would embark on a completely free career path, guided and inspired solely by his own aspirations and his desire to succeed and become the most important sculptor in Spain. Whether at his workshop or in the street, he always had a notebook and a pencil to hand to start drawing. Eduardo Ducay says that when he returned from his travels through Italy and France, he went to Almadén, where he spent his time drawing using a model or taking notes from miners or people in the Plaça del Contador or in Ovalo, etc.. Through all of them we are able to study the body under different concepts, his academies, from the natural bodies (nuda veritas), to the grandiose and idealised figures he created for his monuments. Works in which the affinities and influences of artists from different periods are present, where we can also see the changes that occurred in his development as a creator, in the determined and constant struggle that was his short life, in order to achieve the goal that he had set himself from a fine start.