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Lorenzo Casanova (1844-1900)

Lorenzo Casanova Ruiz (March 14, 1844 – March 23, 1900) was a distinguished Spanish painter renowned for his costumbrista (genre painting) works, primarily focusing on historical scenes, and for his significant contributions as an art teacher. His life and career were marked by both artistic achievement and a commitment to education, leaving a lasting legacy in the Spanish art world.

Educational Beginnings and Artistic Training: Born in Alcoy, Lorenzo began his formal art education at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos in Valencia. Despite financial challenges, his talent and determination enabled him to secure a grant from the “Diputación Provincial de Alicante,” allowing him to further his studies at the prestigious Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid under the mentorship of Federico de Madrazo.

Journey to Italy and Artistic Development: In 1873, armed with a stipend, Casanova ventured to Italy to immerse himself in the rich artistic culture of the Accademia Chigiana. His time in Italy was productive; he sent numerous paintings back home for exhibition at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts. Even after his stipend expired, he stayed on for two more years, supporting himself through his painting.

Return to Spain and Educational Contributions: Following the death of his father in 1879, Casanova returned to Alicante, where he transitioned to a teaching role. He founded his own “Academia de Casanova,” which became a nurturing ground for several well-known painters, including Lorenzo Aguirre and Fernando Cabrera Cantó. His dedication to the arts extended to his position as Director of the local School of Fine Arts, and in 1894, he played a pivotal role in organizing a regional art exposition, further solidifying his influence in the art community.

Honors and Personal Life: Casanova’s contributions were recognized with his appointment as a Knight in the Order of Isabella the Catholic, and he was a celebrated member of the Academia San Fernando. His personal life was intertwined with the literary world through his marriage to María Teresa Miró Moltó, whose nephew was the poet Gabriel Miró.

Legacy and Collectibility: Lorenzo Casanova Ruiz’s works are now highly sought after by collectors, evidencing his enduring impact on the art world. His paintings, celebrated for their historical depth and costumbrista charm, can be found in various antique stores and online marketplaces, continuing to captivate and inspire.

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