Julio Ruelas

Retrato de Rubén M. Campos, 1900

Oleo / tela
36 x 28 cm

Between 1896 and 1910, Ruelas executed a significant number of portraits of men dressed in antiquated costumes – somber doublets, neck ruffs, plumed hats, and wide Spanish capes – in the manner of Renaissance or Baroque cavaliers. The taste for such fashion in portraiture was acquired by both Ruelas and Germán Gedovius during their years of artistic apprenticeship in Germany, in the academies of Karlsruhe and Munich, respectively.

In Mexico, the practice of such portraiture found fertile ground in the idealistic and fantastic atmosphere of fin-de-siècle bohemianism, with its preference for disguises and masks as a manifestation of its boisterous aversion to the grayness of everyday life. Campos himself would leave testament in his memoirs that the use of wide hats with D’Artagnan-style feathers and audacious, musketeer-like moustaches had become external signs of the joyous, intemperate, and daring young people who produced the magazine Revista moderna. This canvas, therefore, refers us back to an attitude deliberately cultivated by the members of the literary and artistic group with which the sitter identified himself.

Campos was nearly 28 years old at the time of this portrait and had already reached expressive maturity in the short stories, poems, and articles that he had been contributing to Valenzuela’s magazine.

Vid. Ramírez, Fausto. Mexican modern painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection, Mexico: RM Verlag Barcelona, 2011, page 30.

More of this artist

Francisco Díaz de León Fund