The Blue Courtyard, Arenys1914 by Santiago Rusiñol I Prats

Painted in 1914, this rediscovered work is the third in a series of four views of this distinctive 'blue courtyard' that Rusiñol completed while staying in the home of his friend and publisher Antoni López in Arenys de Munt, the hill town in northern Catalonia. Versions one and two are in the Museo d'Art Modern, Barcelona, and the Generalitat de Catalunya, respectively; version four is in a private collection.

Rusiñol is best known for his paintings of the formal gardens of Spain. Fascinated by their architectural qualities, he regarded them, and interpreted them, as a series of rooms to be explored. In his series of The Blue Courtyard (Pati blau), the relationship is reversed: a room becomes a landscape. Depicted is an outdoor kitchen, painted in vivid blue, shaded from the sun by a verdant trelissed ceiling.

As well as a painter, Rusiñol was a founding member of the avant-garde Els Quatre Gats group in Barcelona and an avid and polemical Modernist writer calling for the regeneration of the arts in Catalonia, from painting to literature. Interestingly, and not coincidentally, the title of the present work was also the title of one of Rusiñol's theatre plays, El pati blau of 1903. The stark lines and vibrant colours of the painting are perhaps symbolic of this new cultural departure. (
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Tags: blue courtyard
Media: oil on canvas