Don Antonio Martorell Returns to the South


Tonight Antonio Martorell opens his new exhibition, “Hacia el sur” [Towards the South] at the Puerto Rico Fine Arts Gallery, La Rambla Office Park in Ponce on September 26, 2009, at 7:30pm.

Carmen M. Trelles (El Nuevo Día) explains that the exhibition is “a visual compendium of his trajectory in the last few years that has taken him to a new home.” After his previous studio (on the grounds of the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey) was burned down in an act of vandalism, the artist made his way to Ponce, in southern Puerto Rico. About his motives for this new show, he explains that “they are as varied as his pictorial interests in the last few years. Lettered nuns, characters and situations from Don Quixote, self-portraits, portraits, and landscapes.” One of Puerto Rico’s leading master painters, Martorell is an avid reader and “man of letters.” Therefore it is no surprise that the announcement for this exhibition features a print that reads “Discurso de las armas y de las letras” [Speech on arms and letters], inspired by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Chapter 38 of Don Quixote de la Mancha, “Treating of the Curious Discourse on Arms and Letters Made by Don Quixote” (where Don Quixote weighs the dangers of scholarly versus soldierly duties).

martorell“Hacia el sur” includes several paintings that Martorell showed in Mexico for a commemorative celebration of the Franciscan Order. There, upon visiting the Franz Mayer Museum, he decided to re-embark on the theme of the masters that he had previously begun— situating himself in front of great works of art, he creates his own versions of the classics found in museums around the world. Starting at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art, he continued his voyage through the Ponce Art Museum, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum, the Franz Mayer Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, from where he has just come back. 

With this exhibition Martorell celebrates his return to the south (where he had shown his work seven years ago), where he feels a significant impact of the light from the southern shore on his recent work. He exclaims, “The color I use is becoming more silvery, but there is also a light that is not a color, but rather a light that penetrates the spirit and makes one see more clearly. It is neither the surface of the canvas nor the wood that is illuminated; what is illuminated is feeling, thought, one’s essence in relation to the environment.” Yes, I love Don Antonio!

For full review by Carmen M. Trelles, see

For more information on the Puerto Rico Fine Arts Gallery, see

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