Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Episode 85: Spanish Baroque

Hola listeners! Today we bring you the last of our Baroque installments:

Si, you guessed it, el Barroco español!

This art period is characterized by its Caravaggio-esque lighting (mucho dark), and heavy religious symbolism often involving Catholic saints and martyrs.

José de Ribera, The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, c1639. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Feeling inspired yet? Take note of the upturned head, and the cross-like image of Bartholomew's body. Chock full of religious imagery!!

Ribera, Boy with Club Foot, 1642-43

Cute cute cute! The boy is the central focus of this image, so much so that he takes up almost the entire composition - the effects of humanism are in full swing ladies and gentlemen.

Francisco de Zurbarán,Saint Francis in Meditation, c1639, National Gallery

Take a moment to appreciate the clothing in this image, which alludes to the poverty that Saint Francis of Assisi put himself through in order to distance himself from worldly possessions and focus more on God and the salvation of others. He was a pretty rad dude.

Zubaran, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and Roses, 1635

Now, don't be fooled into thinking that this is merely your average, Joe-schmoe still-life. Oh no, this is again bursting with religious symbolism. The fruit is associated with Easter, the rose with the Virgin Mary, and the cup of water with baptism.

No Spanish Baroque discussion would be complete without a mention of that illustrious painting powerhouse, Velazquez!

Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656, Museo del Prado, Madrid

Isn't that dog adorable! The princess herself is pretty darn adorable as well, but I think most awesome of all is how much Velazquez felt the need to insert himself directly into his art, and this piece. Way to put yourself on a high pedastal man.

Velazquez, Water Carrier of Seville, 1619
This is quite an interesting piece. Notice the three stages of age - boy, older man, and really old man. There are also three different parallel water vessels. This can probably linked with the same riddle that the Sphinx asked of Oedipus - "What walks on 4 legs, then two, then three?" Hopefully this man didn't follow Oedipus' lead, but it makes for a good painting.

Finally some architecture, my favorite!

Cathedral of Saintiago de Compostela

Now there is some architecture! If French and Italian Baroque had a baby, it would look like this. Reknowned for its fanciful carving, this takes artistry to a whole new level. If only all of our buildings could look so beautiful!

Muchas gracias for listening and checking out our installment on the Spanish Baroque! Stay tuned next week for our Thanksgiving special on Norman Rockwell with Julia and Chloe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you have topics in art history you're just itching to hear more about, leave us a comment or email us at: