Domínguez Berrueta, Martín


Professor of Theory of Arts and Literature at the University of Granada, whose study trips inspired García Lorca to write his first book, Impressions and Landscapes, published by the Granada printer Paulino Ventura in 1918. He was born in Salamanca, although due to the fact that his mother was born in Burgos, he spent a lot of time in this city, especially holidays, which would lead to his knowledge of and love for the land. He dedicated his doctoral thesis to San Juan de la Cruz. He worked as a journalist in Salamanca, in El Lábaro, the newspaper of which he was director between 1897 and 1910. The clashes and controversies caused by his ideas forced him to leave the newspaper in 1910. His new professional stage took him to Andalusia. In 1911, he was awarded a professorship at the University of Granada. In this city he taught Federico García Lorca who was, however, overwhelmed by doubts, and abandoned the Arts and completed his law degree. He was one of the few professors who left their mark on the poet. Intellectually attached to the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (Free Teaching Institution), his teaching practice and his relationship with his students were innovative in Spain at the turn of the century. With García Lorca and other students he organized study trips around Spain that were the seed of Federico’s first book, Impressions and Landscapes (1918).

Thanks to the study trips organized by Martín Domínguez, Federico was able to meet Antonio Machado and Miguel de Unamuno.

During these trips, as well as promoting knowledge of Spain’s heritage, he brought his students into contact with the institutions and culturally relevant personalities of each city. It was in Baeza, on one of these trips (1916), where Federico met Antonio Machado. This meeting was decisive for Lorca, who at that time was torn between his first vocation, music, and his incipient literary vocation. Also in 1916, on a second trip, the students met Miguel de Unamuno, then dean of the University, in Salamanca.

Visit to the Alhambra by Martín Domínguez Berrueta's students. Lorca is sitting on the ground, second from the right.
Visit to the Alhambra by the pupils of Martín Domínguez Berrueta, sitting on the chair on the right. Lorca is shown seated on the floor second on the right / Photo: FGL Foundation

As much as he aroused admiration, Domínguez Berrueta gained many adversaries among the artists and intellectuals of Granada at the time. His detractors considered that he was arrogant and unwise in many of his judgments and that Federico was too influenced by him. This was the case of José Mora Guarnido, who accuses him in his memoirs, entitled Federico García Lorca and his World, published in 1958, of repeating the same route every year and merely changing its name.

Influenced by Mora Guarnido’s criticisms, Lorca agreed to remove his teacher’s opinions from some passages of Impressions and Landscapes. The crisis between Federico and his literature teacher culminated in the appearance of Impressions… which not only lacks a prologue by its true instigator but is dedicated to another person, the recently deceased music teacher, Antonio Segura Mesa.  Following the appearance of the book, the friendship between them ended. Later, Federico was to regret this and acknowledge his debt to his former teacher. Lorca’s shadow hid much of the pedagogical innovations of Domínguez Berrueta, who died in 1920 at the age of 51.


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