Aureliano de Beruete y Moret
Madrid, 1845 - Madrid, 1912
Born in Madrid on 27 September 1845 into a wealthy family, Aureliano de Beruete alternated his law degree at university with studying drawing and painting at the studio of the modest painter Carlos Múgica Pérez (1821–c.1876) and as a copyist at the Museo del Prado. Devoted wholly to painting from 1873 onwards after dabbling briefly in politics, he became a pupil of Carlos de Haes (1826–1898) at the San Fernando Academy the following year. He travelled with this master to the Basque Country and Majorca and was impressed by his plein-air painting.
In 1875 he married his cousin María Teresa Moret y Remisa. Their only son, also called Aureliano, became a prominent art critic and director of the Museo del Prado.
Three years later, in Paris, he met Martín Rico (1833–1908), who introduced him to the ornamental précieux style that was in vogue among the wealthy bourgeois and spread from France to the whole of the international market, likewise influencing his style.
After he was awarded a third-place medal at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts for his painting Orillas del Manzanares (“Banks of the Manzanares”) – one of his favourite views of Madrid, which he would repeat on several occasions years later – his landscapes were shown at many national and international exhibitions, both official and private. He was granted recognition for his art at all of them and won many prizes, as well as becoming a knight and officer of the French Legion of Honour and a knight of the grand cross of the order of Isabella the Catholic.
An outstandingly talented landscape artist with a very particular painterly sensibility, Beruete espoused the expressive values of the most orthodox Impressionism in an absolutely personal manner and his paintings capture the landscapes he saw during his numerous travels around Europe and Spain, especially Castile. The painting belonging to the collection of Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza is a splendid testament to this preference, and his many views of Madrid, Toledo and the Guadarrama mountains are particularly abundant and significant.
As well as a very prolific painter, Beruete was a prominent art critic, the author of an important biography of Velázquez published in London in 1906, and an exquisite collector who assembled works by Michelangelo, El Greco and Goya, among others.
Following his sudden death in Madrid on 5 January 1912 at the age of sixty-six, his great friend Joaquín Sorolla (1863–1923) staged a retrospective of his work at his own home, which is now the Museo Sorolla.
José Luis Díez