Jose Manuel Félix Magdalena is an atypical artist, with no artistic antecedents  in his family, multifaceted, autodidactic and rigorous in his aesthetic approaches.


(Drawing in pen and colored pencil, 105x 65 cm.)


He was born on the 14th of October 1941 in Brañanoveles, a village in Mieres, Asturias. He learnt at school ,at the age of 3,  how to put together words that his mother had taught him , and later, to read. At the age of six his family moved to la Mariana, a mining enclave near the city, where they settled at a house belonging to the company where his father, a highly-respected professional, was working. They spent 15 years there, living together within a community of labourers that worked in the mines and installations under very hard conditions. At this time, a very important period in his life, he completed a  solid education ; primary school at Aniceto Sela and then secondary at the Lastra Academy, and finally, college at the Apprentice School of the factory of Mieres”, where he graduated , and soon he got a job.



He was a good student and quite different from the rest in his way of playing. His ludic  occupations consisted mostly of imitating adult's work, like constructing toys and devices, etc. , not only enjoying it himself ,but giving work to his friends as well.


While finishing his last part of college he did his first year of technical engineering at University (Faculty of mines and factories) which he completed in 1963.  From  then, he started his professional career as a mining technician advisor ,quickly progressing to directing roles at his company. In 1964 he married M. Josea del Carmen, who would always unconditionally support him. They had two sons and 5 grandchildren.

With this idyllic stable familial and financial situation,  in harmony and parallel to his working life, he started to seriously develop his innate artistic inclinations , which until then, were peripheral , and at the same time , he went to University, graduating with a major in Art History from the University of Oviedo.

In 1975 the family moved to Oviedo where he established his Art studio.

In 1993, due to the end of the mine restructuring , he finished his job in the company.


 In these years he made most of his artistic works, first as a painter (he got the third and first regional  prize of painting in 1967 and 1968 in  competitions organized by the Union).

His speciality was mostly figure  and portrait.


He discovered later the secrets and techniques of  sculpture and realizing that he was experiencing an artistic manifestation that was closer to his abilities, he devoted himself to it almost totally, at the same time he published a book called “Following the Stars”, a publication full of  tenacity, with a great format , with a very carefully-made edition, in which he makes an artistic “pilgrimage” through more than 140 drawings and comments that portrait monuments and landscapes located on the path of the mythic “Camino de Santiago”.

(Santiago pilgrimage)
Keeping his love for construction that accompanied him since he was a child, and freed from his company job,  he agreed with his wife and decided to build , with his own hands, a beautiful and comfortable house-studio where they spend long time ; far from the mundane noise, he keeps working on paper, wood, clay or rock.

He is an observer and has travelled with his family to all  Europe, searching for new cities, their people and art works, he loves choral and symphonic music, he has a good library and he admires Old Greek Art, which he knows very well, whether in Greece itself, The British Museum, Berlin Pergamon, or the Munik Gliptotec.

He does not mind admitting that his aesthetic preferences and consequently,  his works, go against the grain of the triumphant taste of actual times, even though he does not disdain  how valuable actual Art  is.

He does not mind admitting that his aesthetic preferences and consequently,  his works, go against the grain of the triumphant taste of actual times, even though he does not disdain  how valuable actual Art  is.

In very few occasions he has exhibited non public works , but only in a very individual way, and as a result  of the publication of his book, there was a exhibition sponsored by the “Royal Institute of Studies of the City Hall of Oviedo” at the “Royal Institute of Asturian Studies” in which the original drawings of his book were displayed.

Living a retired and family life, he has been defined on a publication as a “shy and proud man , modest and passionate, who, in an atmosphere where developing  artistic inclinations was not propitious for him -, has developed his natural talent through the study, the work, and the observation; he learns from everyone and does not look like anyone”

D. Carlos Cid Priego, Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of Oviedo said about him: “he is not a usual man.

His career in an industrial company, has nothing to do with his artistic works, which he does with great enthusiasm in his free time.

I was very pleased to have him  as a  pupil at the University of Oviedo, where he graduated with a major in Art History.

He does not limit himself to theories,, he is  an active artist that makes splendid sculptures; the readers have on their hands a great proof of his mastery of drawing”

A newspaper titled an article in relation to the inauguration of one of his statues,

“The man who modelled himself”





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