Isabel la Católica

Isabel “The Catholic”

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Isabel I of Castilla was queen of Castile from 1474 to 1504, queen consorted of Sicily from 1469 and of Aragon from 1479, by her marriage to Fernando de Aragón. She is called “the Catholic”, title that was granted to her and her husband by Pope Alexander VI. Isabel granted support to Christopher Columbus in the search for the West Indies, which led to the discovery of America. This event would have consequently the conquest of the discovered lands and the creation of the Spanish Empire. In 1815 King Ferdinand VII, after returning to Spain and restoring absolutism, created the order of Isabella the Catholic, a high decoration still given by the Spanish government. Later, the 19th century Spanish liberals and Romantics tended to have a positive image of the Catholic Monarchs, whom they regarded as the last national monarchs. From 1938, the dictatorship of Francisco Franco profusely used the figure and symbols of Isabel “la catholic” in its propaganda.

Invest in the land of Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes

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Born in Alcalá de Henares on September 29th of 1547 and died in Madrid on April 22th of 1616. It is considered the maximum figure in Spanish literature. The writer of “El ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha” was also a soldier, novelist, poet and playwriter. Cervantes created another genre, the polyphonic novel, where everything is confused. Even though he did it with his own style he used the narrative genre of his times: the byzantine novel, the pastoral novel, the picaresque novel, the Moorish novel, the lucianesca satire, the miscellany. The novels he wrote were: La Galatea, El ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, Novelas ejemplares, El ingenioso Caballero Don Quijote de la Mancha, Los trabajos de Pérsiles and Sigismunda. As a curiosity, it is said that Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare died the same day, the first one on April 22th and the other one on April 23rd. The 23rd of April was named in 1995 by the UNESCO as Book Day.

Gustavo Adolfo Becquer

Gustavo Adolfo Becquer

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Was born in Sevilla on February 17th, 1836 and died in Madrid on December 22nd, 1870. He was a Spanish poet and narrator, that belonged to the romantic movement. He has been associated also with the postromantic movement, since he belonged to the late romanticism. Even though in life he already reached certain fame, only after his death and the publishing of his writings is when he obtained the prestige that he owns today. His most famous work is “Rimas y Leyendas”. The poems and stories included in this collection are essential for studying the Hispanic literature. But, besides his important lyrics, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was also a great narrator and journalist. He wrote 28 narrations of legends, many of them belonging to the genre of gothic and terror, others, authentic sketches of poetry in prose, and other tales of adventure. He also realized drawings, where he represents his imaginary worlds represented in his work “Rimas y Leyendas”.

Juana la Loca

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Juana I de Castilla, named “la Loca” was born in Toledo on November 6th of 1479 and died in Tordesillas on April 12th of 1555, was queen of Castilla, Aragón and Navarra, from 1506 she didn’t have any effective power and from 1509 she lived locked up in Tordesillas, first by his father Ferdinand the Catholic order and later by her son king Carlos I. By birth, she was an infant of Castilla and Aragon. From an early age, he showed signs of religious indifference that her mother tried to keep secret. In 1496, she married with the Beautiful Philip and had six children. By the death of her brothers Juan and Isabel and her nephew Miguel de la Paz, she became heiress of the crowns of Castilla and Aragon. On the death of her mother, Isabel the Catholic, in 1504 she was proclaimed queen of Castilla next to her husband; and to her father, Ferdinand the Catholic, in 1516 she became queen of Navarra and sovereign of the crown of Aragon. Therefore, the 25th of January of 1516, she became theoretically the first queen of the crowns that conformed the present Spain; nevertheless, from 1506 her power was only […]

Picasso

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Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Malaga on October 25th of 1881 and died in Mougins on April 8th of 1973, was a painter and Spanish sculptor, creator, together with Georges Braque, of cubism. Picasso started painting at 8 years old, after a bullfight and under his father orientation he painted “El picador amarillo”, his first oil painting which he always refused to separate. In 1895, his father obtained a chair at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona, where the young Pablo was admitted as a student and studied for two years. At the age of 14, Picasso passed the entrance exam at the Lonja School in one day and could skip the first two classes. According to one of the many legends about the artist, his father, after recognizing the extraordinary talent of his son gave him his brushes and his palette and promised not to paint again in his life. Sylvia Plath, Virginia Wolf, Antonieta Rivas Mercado, Karoline von Günderrode, Marina Tsvetaeva, these women are part of the list of artists who succumbed to the misery of deceit, loneliness, abandonment and lack of love. Picasso painted them in diverse ways, depending on whether he felt that he […]

Velazquez

Diego Velázquez

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He was a baroque painter, considered one of the greatest exponents of Spanish painting and master of universal painting. He spent his first years in Sevilla, where he developed a naturalistic style of lighting, influenced by Caravaggio and his followers. At the age of 24 he moved to Madrid, where he was appointed painter of King Philip IV and four years later was promoted to chamber painter, the most prominent position among court painters. His work consisted in painting portraits of the king and his family, as well as other paintings designed to decorate the royal mansions. His presence at the court allowed him to study the actual collection of paintings where he knew both old and actual paintings, and where determinant influences to evolve into a style of painting. Great luminosity, with quick and loose brushstrokes. In his maturity, from 1631, he painted in this way great works like The Surrender of Breda. In its last decade, its style became more schematic and sketched, reaching an extraordinary dominion of the light. This period was inaugurated with the Portrait of Pope Innocent X, painted on his second trip to Italy, and his last two masterpieces: Las meninas y las spinadores. […]