Juan Soriano was a famous Mexican painter and sculptor. He was born on August 18, 1920, in Guadalajara, Mexico and died on February 10, 2006, in Mexico City. He was one of the supporters of the Mexican School cultural movement, which began to appear in 1910.
Biography of the painter is very interesting. When the artist was born, his real name was Juan Francisco Rodríguez Montoya. His parents’ names were Rodríguez Soriano and Amalia Montoya Navarro. Starting from the early age, he decided to change his name and call himself as Juan Soriano. He preferred the surname of his father and that was the reason for the change (not any other, because several journalists said that he didn’t like his mother which is a total lie).
He always said that his family is very eccentric. He was an early talent whose career began early as did his fame with various writers authoring work about him. This hopeful young boy started his first exhibitions at the age of 14. This first exhibition was a very good one for him. Exactly that first premiere allowed him to meet with a lot of famous artists. There were José Chávez Morado, Lola Álvarez Bravo, and María Izquierdo, (by the way, exactly she had an influence on him to move Mexico City, and in 1935 when he was only fifteen he moved together with his sister Martha).
He traveled a lot in Europe. He found something beautiful in everything he saw. It was his way to becoming inspired. In Mexico, he got Mexico’s national art prize (1987), France’s Légion d’Honneur (2004), and Spain’s Velázquez Prize (2005).
In Mexico City, he never stopped communicating with his friends, writers, painters and so on. They were a treasure of his life that he didn’t want to lose. These included Xavier Villaurrutia, Carlos Pellicer, Octavio Paz, Lola and Manuel Álvarez Bravo and lots more.
Key Ideas in painting
Soriano became popular after his excellent portraits and self-portraits. Just look in his series of paintings of Lupe Marin or even Diego Rivera’s first wife.
Hero of the article always believed that art shouldn’t protect any politics. That is why painter Jesús Reyes Ferreira had an early influence on his work.
During some period of time, he occurred as an antagonist of fascism in Europe. He was a member of the League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists. They were also against the U.S. involvement in various Latin American countries. And this had a huge influence on his artwork too.
Soriano’s work including various paintings, huge sculptures, various ceramics, exciting drawings, awesome graphics works, magnificent illustrations, and set and costume design were classified as part of the second wave of the Mexican muralism movement.
He also experimented a lot. For example, in the 1960s he tried to perform in abstract painting. He was a noted portrait painter with a style that Teresa del Conde (a famous Mexican critic) called “always legible and at the same time strangely problematic.”
In 2003, he worked on tapestry design with a theme of death for the Gobelinos Workshop in Guadalajara.
Famous paintings and sculptures made by Juan Soriano
When he was working, he created things to be memorized by millions of people. That is why Soriano created a number of great sculptures and paintings which are located in Mexico and Europe.
- El Toro at the TomásGarridoCanabal Park in Villahermosa (1987)
- La Luna for the National Auditorium in Mexico City (1993)
- Mano for the Herdez Group headquarters (1995)
- Paloma de bronze (Bronze Dove)
- Pajaro III (Bird III)
- Pajaro de Dos Caras (Bird with Two Faces)
One of Soriano’s most famous paintings, Child with Bird (1941), shows a live bird nestled in the hands of a young boy who, if not smiling, appears quizzical.