Jose Maria Velasco


He is one of the most famous Mexican artists. He lived from 1840 to 1912. He is the maximum exponent of Mexican landscaping of the XIX century.
During his time, most of the artists painted, religious, mythological and traditional themes, however Jose Maria Velasco made of the Mexican geography, with a robust romantic accent the symbol of the national identity.

He was an exceptional draftsman, with a refined technique, precise strokes and sophisticated color. His monumental paintings of the Valley of Mexico were captured
in a naturalistic way but simultaneously with poetic grandeur. He was a teacher to many artists, such as the muralists Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, who mirrored his work during their beginnings, and who eventually rejected his style to adopt a style entirely to the service of the Revolution.

Jose Maria Velasco was born in an obscure little town called Temascalcingo, in the State of Mexico; he studied in small schools of the area. Finally, he was able to obtain a scholarship for the Fine Arts Academy, where he had many teachers; among the most renowned was the Italian Eugenio Landeso, who was able to transmit Velasco’s naive romanticism typical of his paintings.

Velasco’s family scientific roots influenced him to write a book titled “The flora in the Valley of Mexico” (1868). With his sterling academic record, he was named professor of the National School of Arts. He held many important positions. He was one of the most laureates Mexican artists and received many gold medals in Mexico, the United States, and Spain.

His production comprises three periods. The first period is very academic,”La Alameda de Mexico”; where you can see people from all social classes, many trees, and
fountains. The composition is delicate with a perfect balance.

The Valley of Mexico is the first piece of a series of paintings with the same theme that will help him consolidate his prestige. The first close-up has a rocky area, and vegetation behind the Valley’s horizon extends with an exquisite perspective of the two volcanoes view (Popocatepetl and Iztlacihuatl). He lived in a tent for several weeks to paint this scene, to capture the different color tonalities, depending on the light.

In the second period (1890-1892), Velasco became in contact with the Impressionist experiments in France; you can see this style in the Valley of Mexico with the Ajusco, seen from the tepeyac.

In the third period, much more personal (1892-1910), he paints The Sun Pyramid of Teotihuacan).
Jose Maria Velasco is one of the favorite artists of Mexico.