Ancient Head

Accession Number

Ancient Head

Ricardo Martinez

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

14 in. x 15 13/16 in. ( 35.5 cm x 40.2 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Hartsook

Label copy
President's House object Summary
Ricardo Martinez was born in Mexico City, the son of highlly educated parents with a love of music, poetry, and the arts. He was one of five brothers: two became architects, another an actor, and the fourth a well-known sculptor. After studying art as a young man, Martinez had his first important exhibitions in the early 1940s. Since that time, his work has been shown throughout South, Central, and North America, and in japan and Europe. Martinez lives and works in Mexico.
His early works seem almost Surrealist, with figures in disorienting landscpes and objects that float above stark architecture. Martinez also worked with still life and portraiture, and in the 1950's began to develop the simplilfied, monumental figures that have become the central subject of his work. These large figures are generally represented nude, and their bodies full the space of the canvas. Obscured but richly colored, the forms are defined by simple, contrasting lines. The figures can be alone or grouped, male or female, adult or child. All are bathed in bold hues, and seem to radiate light. This work is unusual not in its subject, but in its scale: Martinez generally paints qquite large, his works can measure from onr to three meters in height. That this work is so samll give it a sense of intimacy or preciousness, which, along with its title, suggests those few, rare objectsthat remain from ancient cultures.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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modern and contemporary art

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