Painting is one of the most significant and interesting artistic expressions because it represents the historical, social, political and cultural processes of a country. The Elcano School will introduce you some of the most famous Spanish painters who had represented the cultural system of Spain.
Francisco José de Goya was born on the 30th of March 1746, near Zaragoza. The inspiration that characterizes his personality and his works makes it difficult to insert him into a precise artistic movement. He was involved in the dualism between feeling and reason; he exceeded the typical perfectionism of the neoclassical style representing scenes of daily life or of his internal imagination, anticipating the Realistic and Romantic style.
The first representation that sets him apart from academic rigor occurred in 1774 when Goya began to collaborate with the real factory of the tapestries of Santa Barbara. In these works, Goya uses a modern and vital style that anyway was at the same time very sober.
The mysterious illness of 1792-93 completely changed his style and themes. Therefore, the drastic change of subject in his last works was also imposed on him by the political upheaval suffered in those years by Europe (the rise to the throne of Charles IV and the events related to the Revolution). In 1792 Goya abandoned the lively tones of youth implementing a visionary style and becoming an interpreter of the “black”, damned and painful part of the human being.
Pablo Ruiz and Picasso, known simply as Pablo Picasso (Malaga, 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) is considered as one of the most important painters and sculptors of the 20th century. His artistic innovation renews the nineteenth-century tradition towards the contemporary art: he left an indelible mark in the history of world art when he came up with a new artistic style called the Cubism also with Georges Braque.
After a stormy youth, well expressed in the paintings of the so-called blue and pink periods, from the twenties of the twentieth century he experienced an immediate fame.
Since 1901 Picasso’s pictorial style began to showcase original features and new artistic solutions; so-called “blue period” has in origin in the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas and had happened until the spring of 1904.
The monochromatic use of blue color, captured in all its shades, has a strong expressive and psychological value to represent the progressive decadence of the surrounding world, denouncing themes such as poverty, illness, old age, and infirmity.
Since the late spring of 1904 and throughout 1905, Picasso stopped using blue and he started using a palette of hottest and finer gradations that is the time when ¨pink period¨ began. The passage from the blue to the pink period did not affect only the chromatic apparatus: the decadent atmosphere of the blue period seems like in the circus world with agile acrobats, babies, stubborn bellies, equilibrists dressed in harlequin sheath and fragile ballerinas; this is how to create a world of idyllic atmosphere, suspended between reality and fantasy, in line with the dreamy tension of Henri Rousseau’s naïf works, which Picasso would have known and appreciated.
In the beginning of the 20th century, a new style called Cubism changed the traditional form of representation of the world when it started altering the dynamics of human optic vision. The Cubism was found by Picasso and Braque.
While meditating on the artistic innovations of Cézanne, Gaugin, Van Gogh and Manet, they began to paint everyday objects (guitars, violins, mugs, fruit) which were observed from different angles; then they fragmented these objects into different aspects of reality that are finally superimposed in a new order, thus aiming to achieve a representation of things in their entirety. Picasso did not show only bohemian issues but also political denunciation, such as the famous “Guernica”, realized following the news of the bombing of the same city in 1937.
Joan Miró i Ferrà (Barcelona, April 20, 1823 – Palma de Mallorca, 1893) was a Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramist, exponent of surrealism.
Son of a watchmaker, Joan Miró began to draw at 8 years old. At the advice of her father, Miró undertook commercial studies, but in parallel he attended private drawing lessons.
Attracted by the Parisian artistic community, he moved to the French capital where he met Picasso and the Dadaist circle of Tristan Tzara. Surrealism evolves as an evolution of Dadaism; he was one of the greatest exponents, so Andrè Breton, founder of the movement, described him as “the most surrealist of us all”.
The common feature of all the surrealist manifestations is the radical critique of conscious rationality and the liberation of the imaginative potentialities of the unconscious for the attainment of a cognitive state “beyond” the reality (sur-reality) in which wakefulness and dream come to be harmonious and profound.
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí the Domènech was a skilled painter, famous for the fascinating and bizarre images of his surrealist works. Dalí’s artistic talent found expression in many areas, including film, sculpture and photography.
In his work Dalí has largely served the symbolism. For example, the characteristic symbol of “soft watches” refers to Einstein’s time theory of relativity.
The elephant is another of the recurring images in Dalí’s works. The elephant represents the distortion of space. Long and thin legs contrast the idea of weightlessness with the structure. The egg instead is associated with the prenatal and intrauterine period and symbolizes hope and love.
In his works there are also various species of animals: the ants represent death, decadence and a vast sexual desire; the spiral is in close connection with the human head (the first time he met Sigmund Freud, Dalí had seen a spiral on a bicycle leaning out of his house), while locusts are a symbol of destruction and fear.