Originally from San Sebastián – Donostia, Sanz’s work is most associated with the contemporary figurative style. His vocation as a painter was inspired by his grandfather, who owned the art gallery La Perfecta, where Ricardo encountered many of the great modern masters: Sorolla, Zuloaga, Vázquez Díaz, etc.
At the age of fourteen, Sanz began his training as a painter with José Camps. He also continued his studies and graduated with a degree in History from the University of Deusto and a degree in Art History from the Autonomous University of Madrid. Moving to Paris and then Italy, he held a series of apprenticeships with prominent painters. Finally, Sanz settled in Madrid, where he now lives and has had his studio since 1980. He remains closely linked to San Sebastián, his hometown, where he spends many months each year.
His painting is the result of different influences. His early works were inspired by Basque and French impressionists. This is visible in their range of soft and gray colors and in their attention to the humid atmosphere of his native city.
The Ricardo Sanz of the 1980s and 1990s draws more on classical painters such as Velázquez, Van Dyck, and Rembrandt, as well as the Spanish School of the nineteenth century.
Sanz also incorporates the techniques of such contemporaries as Ricardo Macarrón, Joaquim Torrents Lladó, Antonio López, and Félix Revello de Toro, whose work has enriched his knowledge and artistic spirit and has raised his skill at portraiture and figurative painting to the highest level.
Today Sanz’s palette continues to grow stronger and more colorful; his mature work is even more modern and refreshing. Combining exquisite composition with refined technique and his unique mastery of color, Sanz’s touch attends with special expertise the effects of light, which are the ultimate protagonists of his paintings.
Sanz’s paintings reveal his perfect mastery of drawing, light, and color. His approach to his art is to idealize the most precious aspects of his models and then translate these to the canvas. His portraits, although in keeping with the contemporary style, also rely on pictorial tradition and artistic wisdom.
Ricardo Sanz is now considered one of the great portrait painters of our time. His work is in high demand. Royals, aristocrats, and popular and cultural icons seek him out because they are attracted to his respectful and elegant visions of his models.
He has won top honors for his achievements, including the National Living Culture Award, the Goya Foundation Prize, and the Paul Harris Award given by the International Rotary Foundation.
There have been numerous exhibitions of Sanz’s work both in Spain and abroad. Notable among these have been exhibitions at the Santiago Echeberría Gallery and the Sokoa Gallery, both in Madrid, the Echeberría Gallery in San Sebastián, and his artistic retrospective at the “Casa de Vacas del Retiro” Cultural Center in Madrid.