Martín Rico y Ortega (12 November 1833, El Escorial – 13 April 1908, Venice, Italy) was a Spanish painter of landscapes and cityscapes. Rico was one of the most important artists of the second half of the nineteenth century in his native country, and enjoyed wide international recognition.
Rico was born in Madrid and received his earliest formal training at the city’s Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, where he studied under Jenaro Pérez Villaamil. In 1860, having been awarded a government-sponsored scholarship, Rico moved to Paris to continue his studies.
His landscapes depict the French and Swiss countryside in a fully accomplished Realist style. Toward the end of 1870, due to political and social unrest caused by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Rico decided to leave France and return to his native Spain.
Rico moved to the southern city of Granada, joining Fortuny and his wife Cecilia, as well as the painter Ricardo de Madrazo. The three artists worked closely during this period, with the styles of Rico and Fortuny overlapping so much that their watercolors—a specialty for both artists—were often confused for one another. It was during this time that, through Fortuny’s influence, Rico’s paintings began to reveal a newfound sense of luminosity and color. His time in Andalucía was, according to his memoirs, one of his happiest, and also one of his most artistically productive periods. More on Martín Rico y Ortega
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