A walk through Galicia at the beginning of the 20th century, illustrated by Mariano Pedrero




It was in 1915 when the Burgos illustrator Mariano Pedrero took over the covers of the magazine «Mondariz». Although he settled in Madrid, where the edition of the publication was dated, his mind was already traveling to Galicia, “Probably your summer resort”, Suspicion Andrés Pedrero, his great-grandson, who now dedicates his time, in part, to account for the work and the figure of the illustrator.

Magazine «Mondariz» It was one of the great opportunities for Galician writers to “make a homeland”, as the Spanish National Library (BNE) collects. Among the most prominent firms were the figure of the author of Rosalía de Castro, Wenceslao Fernández Flórez or Emilio Castelar. They were the ones who shaped the texts of literary creation, both in prose and verse, and who made this publication, of a local nature, have an importance beyond attracting new tourists to the area. That was, in the beginning, its main task, to give an account of the information of the Mondariz area, with the Gran Hotel at the head of the stories.

There were seven years that Mariano Pedrero worked, practically in silence, in the Galician publication. A silence that he replaced with his publications, which managed to cross the barrier of the years and now his family conserves a large part of his works. Many of them in the Community.

Of the 47 or so publications that the magazine made under that name, 36 of its covers were illustrated by Burgos, estimates the great-grandson of the protagonist of these lines. “And its inner pages were illustrated by him, endless pages were,” he recalls and confirmed in a telephone conversation with this newspaper. “Although I would say that the covers of the magazine are the star of Mariano Pedrero in Galicia,” he contemplates.

“The covers of the magazine also show an evolution,” explains Pedrero on the other side of the phone line. “While the first numbers are all gold with a photo in the middle, the next ones show a woman, seated. Number by number the only thing that changes is the color, something that is already close to Scottish modernism ”, Pedrero analyzes. “From there they are more innovative”, He reflects, “number 45, for example, is also very modernist, close to the 60s, due to the color variations that can be seen.” The interiors of the magazine “Mondariz”, at least in the opinion of the illustrator’s great-grandson, “are more traditional, although very notable as well.”

In Mondariz, probably “He was soaked in part of the Galician culture” and he learned to enjoy its landscapes and everything that living in the Community entails, explains Andrés Pedrero. And this is demonstrated by his illustrations, not only for the publication of the thermal village, but also for all the drawings he made for Galicia. His great-grandson highlights three in particular, which collect, with Pedrero’s characteristic simplicity, two programs of the festivities of La Coruña, in the years 1905 and 1913. Those eight years of difference already show part of the evolution of the illustrator in terms of his profession.

The illustrator is also remembered, and that is how the family wants to reflect it, by the «Galician Almanac» which includes a 1901 portrait of Pablo Iglesias, as well as a reproduction of Porta da Ponte Nova on the Betanzos wall.

“He made many trips”

Speaking of the early twentieth century, “the amount of trips he made is striking,” he reflects. “For the time we are talking about, and the means of transport that were available, yes, he traveled a lot”, Add.

Many of these trips were destined for the Galician territory, “for holidays, I think, he moved a lot in the north, he liked it.” This is how at least his great-grandson collects it, who owns a postcard that the illustrator sent to his son from La Coruña, on June 28, 1906. “I think it’s a holiday postcard,” he subscribes. In it, some men leave on a steamboat and, the next day, they had the intention of traveling to Santiago », reflects Andrés Pedrero.

To the question of how he would like Galicians to remember his great-grandfather, he answers with sincerity: “May he be remembered for his passion and creativity as the artist he was, that’s how he created the covers and interior drawings for Mondariz magazine”.

His publications also suggest that he traveled to Portugal on several occasions, more specifically to Lisbon. “He was there as a photojournalist, according to his publications”, says Pedrero.

The most representative, considers the interviewee, are the publications in the magazine «La Ilustração Española y Americana», where he was editor, with many illustrations that reflect Alfonso XIII and, “I think, I felt affinity” with the monarchical figure.

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