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Rafael Barradas



Rafael Barradas was an Uruguayan painter active in the early 20th century. He was born on January 4, 1880, in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he was involved in the artistic and bohemian circles of the city. He worked as a journalist and illustrator for several magazines and founded a magazine called El Monigote (The Bumpkin) in 1913. That same year he left Uruguay to travel through Europe, where he eventually settled in Spain. He exhibited in Madrid and Barcelona and continued to work for magazines. He opened his solo exhibition in 1918 at the Galerias Layetanas in Barcelona. Along with Joaquín Torres-García, Barradas coined the style vibracionismo as a combination of Italian Futurism and Cubism. This style uses small blocks of bright color to create the effect of a bustling city, effectively combining sights, sounds, and feelings into an abstraction of urban life. In the 1920s, Barradas designed costumes and theater stages in addition to posters and toys. He illustrated works by authors such as Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, and Felix Lope de Vega. Barradas also coined the term clownism to describe how he painted urban scenes in a picturesque way. He was awarded the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1924. He returned to Montevideo in 1928, where he completed his last paintings, including a series of Madonna and Child pieces in the Cubist style. He died in 1929, and although he spent most of his career in Spain, he is a beloved figure of Uruguayan art history. His paintings are remarkable for their nostalgia and attention to the virtues of the working class. His most famous work is a series entitled Magnificos, featuring monumental portraits of Castillian laborers. He uses muted earth tones to emphasize their humanity and steadfastness in the face of increasing societal change.

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