Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart had more titles than any other aristocrat and owned palaces and an extensive property portfolio as well as paintings by Goya and Velazquez. She died at home on Thursday after a short illness. The duchess is survived by her husband of three years, Alfonso Diez, who is 25 years her junior. The Duchess of Alba was the head of one of Spain’s oldest noble families.
BBC.com–Spain’s ‘rebel noble’, by Fiona Govan, Madrid–The frizzy-haired eccentric aristocrat was one of Spain’s most-loved figures whose antics filled the nation’s gossip magazines and gripped the audiences of TV chat shows even during the final months of her long life. Described as the “rebel noble”, she spurned convention to forge her own path in life, following her passion for flamenco and, as a patron of the arts, amassing a private collection of masterpieces said to rival any in Europe. Her exuberant character, complete with squeaky voice and flamboyant dress-sense, enraptured Spaniards who followed the vicissitudes of her 88 years.
(ArtfixDaily.com), January 7, 2014–It was traditionally assumed that Spanish artists rarely drew, but recent research has demonstrated that drawing was, in fact, central to artistic practice in Spain. Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings explores the shifting roles and attitudes toward the art of drawing in Spain, as well as the impact of the Catholic Church and the nightmare of the Inquisition on Spanish artists and their work.
The fourth and last part of the BBC’s Goya’s Third of May series brings the story up to our own time, citing examples of contemporary artists inspired by Goya to evoke the horrors of our own wars, beginning with Picasso, whose Spanish Civil War work, Guernika in 1937, was the most important historical painting of the 20th century. This chapter also discusses the Irish artist Robert Ballagh’s emulation of Goya with his Third of May,1970 painting that points up the parallels between the Napoleonic troops in Spain and the British in Northern Ireland.
This third part of this series opens with the man in white, the victim and ultimate victor of Goya’s Third of May painting. According to narrator, Samuel West, he is portrayed as super human. Even kneeling he’s larger than his executioners. West highlights the difference between Goya’s rendition of war and those of his contemporaries, whose paintings are tightly packed with figures, color, heroism and glory. Goya gains impact and realism by using few figures surrounded by the desolation of space. “The sky is not sky; it’s blackness,” comments West.
A Peek Inside the Prado Museum’s Paper Restoration Workshop
Jose Manuel Matilla, chief of the Prado’s department of drawings and prints, gives us some insight into the restoration of Francisco de Goya’s “Caprichos amarillos” (a reference used internally that you will not find published), fourteen preliminary drawings for his “Caprichos” etchings portfolio. These were unburdened of the layer of yellow starch varnish applied to them at the beginning of the 20th century, and the paper was reconditioned, rehumidified and flattened. A bonus is the explanation of the work done on one of the artist’s most iconic drawings, “Aún aprendo,” “I’m still learning,” one of Goya’s last drawings made during his final years of merciful exile in Bordeaux. The restoration was based on a photograph of the drawing in its original condition.
YouTube.com–London-based art historian and curator, Juliet Wilson-Bareau finds important qualities and insights in a small self portrait by Goya in the current exhibit in the Prado Museum, “La belleza encerrada. De Fra Angelico a Fortuny”, “Beauty Enclosed. From Fra Angelico to Fortuny” in the Prado from May 21-November 10, 2013. The painting is “Autorretrato” (1796 – 1797),” “Self Portrait” de Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. According to Wilson-Bareau the painting was done during a visit to the Duchess of Alba on her estates in San Lucar de Barrameda in Andalucía, and he gave it to her as a gift. At that same time he might have been preparing the preliminary drawings for his first series of prints, “Los Caprichos.” More…
by Bart Sedgebear