Gonzalo Morales Sáurez

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Best known for his work in the growing field of hyperrealism, Gonzalo Morales Sáurez is one of the most influential Costa Rican painters of the latter half of the 20th century.

When It Allbegan

Morales was born on July 9, 1945, in the capital city of San Jose. His father, Gonzalo Morales Alvarado, was a painter and teacher, so the younger Morales was exposed to a wide range of art during his upbringing. Morales' father helped him develop his skills as a painter and sculptor, aiding him as he held his first solo exhibition. In 1970, this exhibition resulted in his being awarded a scholarship to study intaglio engraving at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain. During his time in Spain, he also studied at the Romanesque Monastery of San Cougat del Valles in Barcelona, where he learned about the art of fresco painting.

Prize Winner

After successfully staging three exhibitions of his work and being accepted into a major show in Spain, Morales returned home to Costa Rica, where he won a national art award as well as the Enrique Echandi Prize, named for a fellow Tico painter.


Morale's work primarily draws from hyperrealism, a school of painting and sculpture that emulates high-resolution photographs. Unlike the photorealism school of art, hyperrealist painters imbue each object in their work with a level of detail not found in original photos, allowing them to create a reality beyond that of the photograph itself. Morales' hyperrealistic works portray scenes with furniture, packing boxes, old facades, patios, rooms or uninhabited spaces, using this imagery to shed light on previously unexplored parts of everyday life.

Some of Morales' most famous paintings include "Jacket de cuero" ("Leather jacket"), which he painted in 1975, and "Retrato de rosa" ("Rose portrait"), a work created in 1996.

All Over the World

Currently, Morales' work is featured in exhibits all around the world in countries such as Spain, France, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela. People traveling in Costa Rica can see his paintings in several places around San José, including the Costa Rican Parliament, the National Museum, the Museum of Costa Rican Art, the Central Bank and more.