Joaquín Turina y Areal
Seville, 1847 - Seville, 1907
Joaquín Turina y Areal, who was of Italian descent, went down in the history of Sevillian painting as one of the last 19th-century continuers of scenes of local customs, although neither much of his production nor many details of his life are known owing to the few repercussions his oeuvre had. He was married to Concepción Pérez, a native of Cantillana (Seville), and 9 December 1882 witnessed the event that would bring the painter his greatest fame: the birth at his home in Calle Ballestilla in Seville of his son Joaquín, who would become one of the most famous Spanish musicians of his day.
Turina appears to have been a pupil from the age of nine at the Seville School of Fine Arts, where he trained under artists such as Manuel Cabral Aguado Bejarano (1827–1891) and Manuel Wssel de Guimbarda (1833–1907); they must have taught him their art and instilled in him their interests, as may be deduced from the small number of known works painted by this artist. As for his earliest output, it is known that he painted devotional works and pictures of fruit and flowers.
He took part in the National Exhibition of Fine Arts of 1881, submitting Los dos extremos (“The Two Extremes”) and also in the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 with Desembarco de Colón en Palos a su regreso de América (“Columbus Disembarking in Palos on His Return from America”).
Throughout his life Turina devoted himself mainly to producing genre scenes of popular customs, a type of painting deeply rooted in Seville since the Romantic period; these pictures were purely commercial and decorative and he is therefore not represented in museums or public institutions. A few other examples are known of paintings with a certain historical slant – La ronda nocturna encontrando el cadáver de Escobedo (“The Night Watch Finding Escobedo’s Corpse”) and Un episodio de la sublevación cantonal en 1873 (“An Episode of Cantonal Uprising in 1873”) – but his works are chiefly centred on anecdotal and superficial aspects of Seville’s past, such as Martínez Montañés viendo salir la procesión de Jesús de Pasión (“Martínez Montañés Watching the Procession of Christ of the Passion Depart”, Seville, Hermandad de Pasión) and Cómo se divierten (“How They Amuse Themselves”, Madrid, art market, 1999), in which a writer recites from a few sheets of paper at the court of a nobleman whose coat of arms hangs in a visible place above the fireplace in a room full of figures taken from the Spanish Golden Age portraiture tradition. Turina also produced scenes of folk types, as evidenced by Una boda (“A Wedding”, Madrid, art market, 1999), which is more carelessly executed, and an exquisite pair of watercolours that attest to his skills in this technique: Un garrochista (“A Goader”, Madrid, art market, 2000) and Una mujer con mantilla (“Woman with Mantilla”, Madrid, art market). He even produced Orientalist scenes inspired by the North African views that Mariano Fortuny made popular among Spanish painters.
Carlos G. Navarro