Art unites time and space. 300 years of San Antonio history and 500 years of Spanish art go hand in hand in a unique exhibition that brings Velázquez, Goya, El Greco and Picasso to visit Texas. We were at the San Antonio Museum of Art to feel the immortal essence of some paintings that had recently arrived from the main museums of Madrid. Gastronomy, culture and beauty came together at this museum that was once the old Lone Star factory in San Antonio. We traveled through the exhibition through the wise words of its leaders, Katherine Katleen Luber and William Keyse Rudolph. Join us on this exciting trip.
Art as a Link
The city of San Antonio has a very marked Spanish influence. Its foundation at the hands of Canarian families have created a bond that still lasts. The city celebrates 300 years exploring its roots and its future. What better way to use art to achieve it?
Spain. 500 years of Spanish Painting, brings us closer to the essence of the founders of the city. A way to understand life and death is reflected in the art and in the eyes of these iconic artists.
Approaching this beautiful museum in San Antonio makes you travel to Madrid and other times that explain the current. In the rooms of the exhibition you can breathe the same air as in the Prado or Reina Sofía, it is the immortal aroma of art. An essence that helps to understand the culture of the first inhabitants in Texas.
Katherine Katleen Luber and William Keyse Rudolph, responsible for the exhibition, have managed to exhibit in Texas amazing works of art that have never been seen in the United States. The first contact with Spanish art in the exhibition is an indescribable visual and cultural impact.
Torerillos de Pueblo shows the Hispanic essence, the disdain for death and the attitude towards the life of Spanish culture. This is Katherine’s understanding, who was excited to begin this journey with the piece of the great Zuloaga.
A Journey through the Histories of Art
After that moment, you find the art of Byzantine inspiration that was a trend in Spain in the time of Isabel from Castilla and Fernando from Aragón, just at the precise moment of Columbus’s arrival in America. This type of art had international inspiration with Venetian, Flemish or Castilian influences. You close your eyes and you evade a distant era of dreamers, great advances and enormous threats. A period that resembles periods of change like those we live.
This first stage of the exhibition is marked by religion. A preview of one of the pictorial wonders that always fascinates us when we have it in front of us. El Greco and its spectacular breaks of sky take us to that workshop in Toledo where the author of Greek origin planned the decoration of El Escorial, the home of the powerful Spanish kings of the time, Charles V and Philip II.
The economic power of the Spanish crown caused a great influence of the Italian and European art in the Spanish artists, since they collaborated with great national and foreign geniuses. For that reason, you will find a very Italian look in the next part of the expo, with Velázquez, Zurbarán, Murillo or Ribera competing for being the great masters of universal painting.
The purest air in the world is breathed in the Las Meninas canvas, said Dalí. In San Antonio, you will be able to perceive it when contemplating the mother of the immortal princesses of Velázquez.
The portrait of Queen Mariana of Austria is one of the paintings that most impact the exhibition despite being surrounded by works such as San Jerónimo by Ribera, The Annunciation of Murillo or Saint Elizabeth of Portugal by Zurbarán. The iconography of this masterpiece by Zurbarán inspired the visions of Juan Diego in 1531, which would end up creating the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe with her floral mantle.
New Geniuses, New Visions
After the golden age, Spain began a long era of political decline. In art, a visionary emerges that would anticipate impressionism and capture the daily life of Spaniards of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Goya managed to inspire the avant-garde of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A radical change in the vision of Spanish art, where the human made its way before the divine.
In the scenes of the paintings, many of the keys to the way of being of the Spaniards are intuited. Well represented in this retrospective will impact the mastery of your stroke. After Goya, a very traditional nineteenth century will greet you on the walls of SAMA with children’s scenes and the day to day in Spain that could well represent pictures of life in San Antonio.
The final part awaits you with the Mediterranean colors of Sorolla and its superb handling of light. At your side you will find a masterpiece by Córdoba’s Julio Romero de Torres, where he makes a nod to the Venus del Espejo by Velazquez, and a Picasso, Lola, sister of the artist, from his Barcelona era that will captivate you with the fury of its colors.
This avant-garde phase of Spanish art illustrates its importance in the artistic world of the 20th century. The trip was concluded with five centuries passing by with a sigh surrounded by art.
An Ode to an Ancestral Culture
Spain: 500 years of Spanish Paintings, is a journey through a history that has transformed art and San Antonio throughout the centuries. Artists who have managed to capture the passion and color of an ancestral culture that returns to the city 300 years later.
In the museum’s gift shop, you can immerse yourself even more in this rich culture through its gastronomy, with books and ingredients to savor a paella and other typical Spanish dishes. Also, you will find the makeup that Queen Letizia bought in her recent visit to the exhibition in the company of Felipe VI. You can even dress like Bizet’s Carmen, wearing a traditional Manila shawl.
But the surprises do not end in the exhibition hall. Every Tuesday until the end of the exhibition, on September 16, you have the opportunity to taste the exquisite Spanish cuisine in an evening where foodie passion and art meet. Tapas, cocktails and cava are allied to match jamón or Spanish cheese to the most dazzling art.
Musical days, poetic encounters with the best Spanish verses, wine tastings and night parties await you in a summer with the taste of Spain on your lips. Check here the schedule and close your eyes. As soon as you open them a Mediterranean breeze will take you from San Antonio through more than 300 years of common stories.