The Museo de Bellas Artes in Seville, Spain, acquired the piece Vista de Sevilla from Seville artist Manuel García Rodríguez. He was part of a group of pioneer Sevillian landscape painters known as the School of Alcalá, which focused almost exclusively on painting the Guadalquivir river that cuts through the heart of Seville.
This brings up the question: are local artists the best to portray their city? In one sense, they’ve walked the streets a thousand times, they know the shortcuts through quiet streets, and they understand the nuances of the language, the customs, the culture. On the other hand, they may not be able to see the forest for the trees. A tourist, upon first stepping foot on the Seville streets, may bring with them a “comparative culture” analytic. Because they are not familiar with the streets, the architecture, the language, they are better able to acutely define what Seville is and whether it is timid, lazy, fast-paced, or unforgiving. In addition, a tourist will elicit a reaction from the locals (whereas locals tend to ignore other locals) and this tells volumes. (Whether the reaction/feeling is authentic or not is another story).
It would be an interesting experiment to have a local artist and a foreign artist paint the same subject matter, and then have a blind judging by locals. Wonder who would win?