"Man with Gourd"

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Man with Gourd

Here we have a beautiful piece by Mexican master, Ricardo Martinez de Hoyos. It’s a work form the 50’s – 1957 to be exact.

The colors are beautiful in this piece, the drawing is fantastic - the way the head just touches the top of the stretcher frame, all the way down to where the feet plant firmly in the ground.

The composition is extremely well executed.

Paint Application

What he’s doing here (as he did with many other pieces from the the 50’s), is he started off with this earthy red ground that you see in various parts of the painting. He let that dry then worked on top of it with his colors of different blues, beiges and greys. He didn’t paint over the red ground completely, so you can still see it through the paint that overlays it in various parts of the piece.


It’s a painting that depicts a man drinking from a gourd in a desert landscape – although many people think it’s a woman because he has a band across his head to keep the sun off.

One of the things I love about this painting – its got this wondereful, surreal element to it, which you don’t find in all of Ricardo Martinez's works. What I mean by that is you have these pyramids – one in the bottom right, one in the bottom middle – and the third pyramid is actually created by the leg and the thigh of the person seated. The third pyramid is hidden at first, but is surely there if you look for it.


The colors and textures in the skies are echoed in the shirt of the figure, which adds another surreal element to the piece. All in all a wonderful painting by Ricardo Martinez.