Gonzalo Morales Sáurez

Ñina con espejo by Gonzalo Morales Sáurez
Ñina con espejo by Gonzalo Morales Sáurez

The renowned Costa Rican painter has works exhibited all over the world. Gonzalo Morales Sáurez provided great influence with his impressive works in hyperrealism. From cats, ghosts, and portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Morales has an eclectic and impressive history of paintings.


Raised in the city of San José, Gonzalo Morales Sáurez learned a lot from his father, Gonzalo Morales Alvarado, who was a teacher and a painter. Morales was able to receive exposure to many varieties of art and develop his skills at a young age. In 1970, his first solo exhibition at the tender age of twenty-five was in great help from his father. The results earned him a scholarship to Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Royal Academy of Arts) in Madrid, Spain to study intaglio engraving. He also studied fresco painting during his time in Spain at the Romanesque Monastery (School of Murals) of San Cougat del Valles in Barcelona. After cultivating his craft in Spain, Morales was well-received after three of his own exhibitions and was accepted into a significant art show.


This detailed genre or movement started its development in the 1970s when Morales was first starting to show his works. The term is used as a description of the intricate and lifelike details used in the work, often described as resembling a high-resolution photograph. Beyond that, artists portray such talent that the hyperrealism paintings take on a reality past the original itself. The hyperrealistic works from Morales caught everyone’s eyes with fascinating imagery and detail. Some of these works display things like packing boxes, furniture, empty rooms, and food. Morales was able to show fascinating details in the everyday mundane.

“Jacket de cuero” (“Leather jacket”) is one of Morales most famous paintings from 1975 that depicts a leather jacket on a hanger with a pair on jeans, the hanger dangling from a nail in the wall, the jacket just covering a poster of a nude woman. Another famous work, this one from 1996, is “Retrato de rose” (“Rose portrait”) that is a painting of a painting, a portrait of a woman hanging on a wall.


Gonzalo Morales Sáurez received multiple awards between 1973 and 1999, many in Costa Rica. Though Morales spent much of his time studying in Spain, once he found his success and footing, he returned to his home in San José where he would earn many prestigious awards. In Costa Rica 1980, he received the First Prize of Painting for the Enrique Echandi Prize. In 1982, he won the Aquileo Echeverría National Prize for Plastic Arts.


Gonzalo Morales Sáurez had talents in painting, drawing, and sculpting. His brilliance did not go unnoticed and can be found in many exhibits around the world. The United States, Spain, Mexico, France, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Columbia, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Honduras all showcase his work. Of course, Costa Rica culture would not be complete without also exhibiting Morales’ fine works of art.

Costa Rica artists, including Gonzalo Morales Sáurez, are highlighted in the Museum of Costa Rican Art, located inside La Sabana Park. Costa Rica museums are a delightful way to spend part of your day while traveling to the capital city of San José. Also, the National Museum, Costa Rican Parliament, and the Central Bank all display paintings of Morales for everyone to enjoy and are easily located to plan into your outings. Since his passing in December of 2017 in his hometown of San José, it is important to remember, respect, and enjoy the great influence Gonzalo Morales Sáurez had on the world of art and his beloved country, Costa Rica. His memory is cherished through his works and the impact he left on the community.

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