With the fresh enthusiasm of a passionate artist, the veteran portraitist Hernán Cortés (Cádiz, 1953), for whose study the most distinguished of Spanish social, cultural and political life has passed, entered this Sunday Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. His emotional speech, written after half a century of incessant oil work on the easel, was beautifully replicated by Antonio Bonet Correa, former director of the Academy and mentor of the new entrant. Painters Manuel Alcorlo and Rafael Canogar also endorsed his candidacy.
The auditorium of the tri-centenary academic institution of Madrid was crowded with attendees – many of them egregious people – attracted by the appointment of the new academic: Hernán Cortés has taken to his canvases a new way of innovating the art of pictorial portraiture . Thus, his gallery of the seven fathers of the Constitution of 1978, which adorns the walls of the Congress of Deputies, is considered as a paradigm of the new and unique way of portraying devised by him. And it has done so maintaining maximum loyalty to the effigy characters, with the attention to the commission entrusted and, notably, getting involved in fidelity to their own gaze: that of an artist committed to the exploration and interpretation of the human soul.
This was explained in his pleasant speech entitled About the portrait, the commission and the human enigma, initiated with a reference to her vocational inclination towards painting, which arose when, at the age of six, her mother gave her her first box of brushes. Son of a pediatrician stationed in Puerto de Santa María and in Cádiz provided with devotion to culture, Hernán Cortés admits he has die-cut the chromatic and essential frame of his pictorial proposal, as well as the horizon and the spatial structure of his future art, with the light that bathes the Bay of Cadiz and facing the immensity of the Atlantic. It has been pointed out by María Dolores Jiménez Blanco, curator of her recent exhibition of portraits in the Madrilenian headquarters of the Telefónica Foundation.
At the tender age of ten, Cortes would visit with his father and brother Antonio the Museum of the Madrid headquarters of the Academy which he now enters, "home and reflection of the portrait painting that has accompanied, with greater or lesser fortune, the Spanish political, artistic and social evolution since the mid-eighteenth century, "he said. "Here I was in my childhood, tyrannized for months by portraits like the one Goya made of The tyrant"Explained Cortes with a smile. He remembers having seen then, with the desire to emulate him, the portrait of a girl sketched by the Galician painter and academic Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor; With time, that girl, Maya, granddaughter of the painter, would be her life partner and the main support of her pictorial career.
Cortés admits having die-cut the chromatic and essential frame of his pictorial proposal with the light that bathes the Bay of Cadiz
Medical student at the behest of his father, not through the intercession of his father's friends, such as Gregorio Marañón, Pedro Laín Entralgo and Dámaso Alonso, knowing these of Hernán's precocious ease with his brushes, he left the path of Hippocrates to devote himself to the painting. Formed in Seville and Paris, where he explored abstract painting, he initially assigned himself to social realism, which he would soon abandon. Later, he discovered in the portrait the genre that, from an early age, absorbed the best kinetics of his strokes, although he immediately noticed the difficulty presented by the challenges that the portraitist has to overcome: the similarity challenge, presented with profiles disturbing, it is summarized for him only in a series of essential features; the accurate line helps to solve this delicate question; but, for Hernán Cortés, neither similar nor stroke are sufficient in themselves. It is, above all, that the painter's gaze "allows him to find the angle where the model best expresses itself". If fortune accompanies him, he adds, a "revealing spark" arises that marks the challenge with success.
"Portrayed, painter and mentor of the commission star in the portrait." He gave the example of the first of those made to Felipe IV by Diego Velázquez, to underline the elegance of the Sevillian artist when it comes to satisfying the demands and circumstances that each of those demands and that the portraitist has to combine overcoming the contradictions that are customary face them. After emphasizing the presence in the portrait of the perennial longing of the human being to transcend the inexorability of death, he later approached the supposed pictorial dichotomy between figuration and abstraction. The conceptual tear between one and another has made a dent in the history of contemporary art. However, Hernán Cortés shows in his works the harmonious coexistence of the human figure with the essentiality of that distance abstraction seeks when it comes to representing the effigy character: the portraitist must know how to keep that distance, which allows him to investigate, explore and discover the enigma that accompanies every human being and that, in a flash, intercommunicates the painter and the portrayed in a rich and mutual intellection. "Figuration and abstraction are not exclusive, but complement and enrich", he assures. They come to be, for him, two segments of the same and necessary expressive potential.
The president of National Heritage and academic, Alfredo Pérez de Armiñán; politicians such as former minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Ángel Gabilondo and Nicolás Sartorius; historians such as José Álvarez Junco and Pedro Navascués; Architecture professors such as Alberto Campo Baeza and Javier G. Mosteiro; actresses like Alicia Sánchez; musicologists such as Tomás Marco and designers like Roberto Turégano, accompanied the new academic in a pleasant evening, marked by the knowledge of Antonio Bonet Correa and the current director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Fernando de Teran, which gave input to Portraitist Hernán Cortés to the historic Madrid Olympiad of Fine Arts.