José Jiménez Aranda
Seville, 1837 - Sevilla, 1907
The brother of Luis Jiménez Aranda, also a painter, José was one of the most talent artists of the Andalusian painting scene of the 19th century. In 1851 he enrolled at the Seville School of Fine Arts, where he was taught, among others, by Antonio Cabral Bejarano, Manuel Barrón and Eduardo Cano, who regarded him as a favourite student and left a mark on his initial work.
In 1864 José Jiménez Aranda took part for the first time in a National Exhibition, achieving an honorary mention for a genre scene entitled La huérfana (The Orphan”). Four years later he moved to Jerez de la Frontera and married María Dolores Vázquez.
In 1870 he again took part in the National Exhibition entering genre scenes, notable among which is A Pass in the Bullring, which was awarded a third medal. The following year he befriended Mariano Fortuny and Raimundo de Madrazo in Seville and decided to follow them to Rome, also taking with him his family and his young pupil José García Ramos. In the Italian capital he produced his first works in the précieux style, such as Los penitentes en la basílica de Asís (“Penitents in the Basilica of Assisi”, 1874).
In 1875, shortly after Fortuny died, Jiménez Aranda returned first to Valencia and then to Seville, where he was appointed a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1879. In the Andalusian capital he continued to paint works in the précieux style, which found an outlet on the international market thanks to the mediation of his brother Luis, who was based in Paris. In 1878 José Jiménez Aranda took part in the Paris Exposition Universelle, entering El guardacantón, and two years later he participated in the Paris Salon with Los bibliófilos (“The Bibliophiles”) and Una cogida en los toros (“A Goring at the Bullfight”) – a version of A Pass in the Bullring (1870) painted in a more précieux style.
After settling in the French capital in 1881, José Jiménez Aranda worked at a frenzied pace painting small précieux scenes that were easily sold. He took part regularly in the Paris Salons and was awarded a medal of honour at the Munich Universal Exhibition of 1882 for his Sermón en el patio de los naranjos de la catedral de Sevilla (“Sermon in the Patio de Los Naranjos of Seville Cathedral”). Nevertheless, his oeuvre evidences the shift in tastes towards scenes of modern life.
In 1890 he left Paris and settled in Madrid. That year he won a first-place medal at the National Exhibition for Una desgracia (“A Misfortune”), a painting on a social theme. He also developed a close friendship with Joaquín Sorolla.
In 1893 Jiménez Aranda established himself again in Seville, where he taught at the Academia Libre until 1897 and from then onwards at the School of Fine Arts, taking the place of his master Eduardo Cano. From the middle of the 1890s he frequented the town of Alcalá de Guadaíra, where he joined the group of Sevillian landscape artists headed by Emilio Sánchez-Perrier. One of his last successes was at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900, where he showed 137 bozzetti on the subject of Don Quixote and was awarded a gold medal. He died at his Sevillian home on 6 May 1903.
Juan Ángel López-Manzanares