SPANISH SOCIAL REALISM -The Most Provocative & Political Paintings of the 19th & 20th Centuries - tba

THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY CLASS where we explore some of Spain's most brilliant academic realist painters who turned the political and social problems of modernization into cultured images with dimensions and rhetoric typical of epic historical paintings.


The intellectual artists of the industrial revolution leave behind their pursuits of Romantic historicism in order to create visually magnificent and awesome paintings that are also politically shrewd and smart in their subject matter.  

Through these artists and their abilities to bring realism to the current social problems of the era, we are able to take a good look into Spain's problems of modernization, the bourgeois, and the working class or proletariat.

We are shocked by the unbelievable levels of social injustices and struggles of the working class who were exploited for their labour without justifiable fiscal or physical compensation. These paintings provoke contemplation about not only Spanish culture and society but the whole of the human condition as it headed towards grave misfortune and misery within a new social order. 

“There are only three ways out of the economic prison of civilized countries, two of them illusory and the third real: the brothel and the church, the debauchery of the body and the debauchery of the soul; the third is the social revolution ” (Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a Russian revolutionary anarchist, socialist and founder of collectivist anarchism.)

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Spain witnessed great changes in its culture and society. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued the Catholic "Rerum Novarum",  his first doctrine directed at the most pressing problems of the times including the abuses and problems created by the Industrial Revolution and capitalism and the illusions of socialism. He emphasized the church’s right to make pronouncements on social issues as they related to moral questions.

He highlighted “the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class” and condemned the abuses of the bourgeoise, particularly the greed of the capitalist class. At the same time, he vigorously criticized the illusions of socialism, chiefly on the ground that private property is a natural right indispensable for the pursuit of individual freedom. 

The social thought of Leo XIII helped to connect the church with the modern struggle for social justice and stimulate concrete social action among Roman Catholics.

The country was devastated by the loss of its last colonies in the Americas. The Treaty of Paris, December 10, 1898, forced Spain to grant independence to Cuba and to cede Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam to the United States. Spain's defeat against the United States and the loss of its colonial possessions dealt a severe blow to a country in crisis.

The intellectuals of the so-called Generation of '98 would baptize the events that occurred as the 'disaster of '98'  and would try to find an answer to the so-called  'problem of Spain'. They immersed themselves in the profound economic, social and political crisis of the country and looked for new ways to reinvent and modernize Spain. 

So began a time of drastic reforms that divided the country. There was the push and pull of the transition from Monarchy to a Republic, with its development of a new, free and lay education system as well as the implementation of many legal and social reforms. 

All the changes, reflections, and reforms led the country to a time of turmoil and unrest. It became important to intellectuals and artists to try and break away from the past and build pillars to a future. This was not an easy task and new ideas were often confronted and challenged, deeply influenced the works of writers, philosophers, artists, and painters of the time. 


  • DAY: tba
  • TIME: 17:00 H
  • PLACE: Darocas Studio (inside the office of Benitachell Properties at main traffic lights)
  • FEE: 10 euros
  • Current Covid Health Rules in Place!