Spotlighting Antonio Martorell

Written by Isabel Duran



I first heard of Martorell's art at a Renaissance meeting. As I studied his art history I found that he was not only a painter but an illustrator and a political force for Puerto Rico.

Throughout the year of 2011, I painted several portraits of Martorell. I am very proud and honored that he has one of my portarit-paintings at his Puerto Rico Studio. The portrait is a parity of himself and the great Puerto Ricon artist of the late 1800's who died in 1917, Francisco Oller. The painting shows Martorell dressed in Francisco Oller's outfit smoking a pipe. There is humor in the painting as well as a sound relationship in the two powerful artists. In the puffs of smoke you see the titles of two books Martorell wrote, La Piel de la Memoria (translated as Memory's Tattoo), and El Libro Dibujado (The Drawn Book). To the top right you see the burning torch representing Martorell's political strength in helping his people's rights. Under the torch are the balance-scales which represent Martorell's belief in justice and working for the good of all concerned. At the request of my agent, I wrote out the word "Martorellisimo" on the right side from top to bottom of the canvas, which is a very Latin way of expressing how one refers to a style wholly belonging to that one person.

I finally got to meet Martorel in Chicago at the Renaissance Dinner sponsored by Pablo Schneider. Antonio Martorell was every bit what a true artist should be. He was rather quiet but definitely shared priceless information when he spoke. I noticed a ring he was wearing, so artistic. It was made out of a screw. The ring had the coiling screw part protruding from the ring itself and the nut was screwed onto it. It was like a piece of mechanical tool on his hand. And yes, the mark of a true artist, he had dark around his fingernails, from paint that would not totally come off. He apologized for the look, I, in turn was taken by it, it was so much like an ARTIST.