News & Updates * June 11, 2022

Greeting SpainLifestylers, 

It's been a busy summer already. I have organised a couple of fantastic art exhibitions, the highlights of which I will tell you about. I have also finished another great book for your educational pleasure.

I went last Sunday morning to Valencia city to hang out in my favourite place, the Fine Arts Museum. I just love the details of The Courtyard of the palace of Jerónimo Vich y Valterra (ambassador of Fernando el Católico in Rome.)

This Renaissance cortile (open-air courtyard) in marble from Genoa was built around 1525 in the city of Valencia. It is one of the first Renaissance buildings on the Iberian Peninsula. 

Around 1850, the palace was used by a printing house and was in a dilapidated state. In 1859, it was decided to demolish it. The marble pieces from Genoa that Jerónimo Vich brought to Valencia for the construction of the palace were scattered over several buildings in the city, most of them in the Gothic Convent of Carmen (from 1860 to 2006). In 2007, the courtyard in the Valencia Fine Arts Museum was completely rebuilt, although some pieces had to be remodelled.

There is a whole big wing now dedicated to Sorolla and his peers and professional painter friends. There were works that really got me excited!!

How's this for anatomical realism? 

Icarian Games by Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench (València, 1849 - Godella, 1916)

This painting was signed and dated in Rome in 1877. It shows a boy juggling a ball on his foot. The anatomical study of the natural is enriched with a palette of white tones through which it expresses different nuances. The naturalistic realism is evident in some details such as the depiction of dirt stains on the feet and hands. At the same time, it is also a modernised recreation of the ancient Roman world and Italian Baroque painting.

I really liked this work by the Valencian * Antonio Muñoz Degraín (Valencia, 1840 - Malaga, 1924) in the Valencia Museum of Fine Arts.

Title* Mother's Love - painted around 1912-1913, it is one of the author's most famous and emblematic works. It depicts the tragedy and pain caused by a flood in a Valencian orchard. In a remarkably epic scene in which nature has suddenly become a symbol of destruction and death, a mother tries to save her son from the fury of the raging floods. The orange trees, water wheel and huts are covered in dirty and churning water, creating a sense of dynamic unrest through long and intense brushstrokes. Fabulous. Amazing painter!

I was so overwhelmed when I saw these two painting that made a couple of videos. They are up on YouTube but here are the links... After the Fray  and   The Satyr 

My regular students will remember these two paintings because they were part of a very provocative lecture on 19th century social realism. You may recall that Antonio Fillol was known for championing the oppressed lower class, working class and women in the art world, above and beyond the norm. We are lucky to have both of them in our Fine Arts Museum in Valencia. (Bio of Antonio Fillol Granell

I was afraid that I would be too late to see the exhibition on José Aparicio Inglada (Alicante, 1770), the first solo exhibition on this Alicante artist. *24 March - 12 June 2022, Joane's Hall for Temporary Exhibitions, Valencia Fine Arts Museum. BUT I MADE IT!

Aparicio's journey from his hometown, where only studies that were considered “insignificant” were allowed, to the court painter of Fernando VII, gives us an insight into an interesting life. His successful career led to him being appointed by King Carlos IV to post-revolutionary Paris, where he learned from the neoclassical master David. He was a companion of the great Romantic painter Ingres, with whom he also shared a stay in Rome at a time when international politics trembled under the rule of Napoleon.

There, in exile, together with José de Madrazo and Juan Antonio Ribera, he was close to the circle of the court of Carlos IV and María Luisa, where his fame led him to become an academic of San Lucas. On his return, after the War of Independence, he was appointed house painter to Fernando VII. He was also Director of Painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1834. 

A forgotten and reviled artist for many decades due to his connections with the absolutist monarch and one of the most convulsive historical periods in the history of Spain, to which he consistently bears witness in his huge laudatory paintings. His production, which is of uneven quality, is often devoted to glorification, aggrandisement and royal propaganda.

This exhibition has been built around the various stages of his life: it begins with his training period in Spain - Alicante, Valencia, and Madrid - continues with his time as a pensioner in Paris and Rome, and ends with his return to Spain and his recognition as a chamber painter. It consists of a significant selection of paintings, drawings, engravings, and documents that underline the historical context in which they were created.

My NEW BOOK is NOW AVAILABLE on AMAZON WORLDWIDE and in my local area at Polly's International Book Shop in Javea Port. 

My students who enjoyed my lecture on Spanish Historical Romantic art will enjoy this resource book. Here is the description from the backside:

“This book is your guide to the seven most famous historical romantic stories of Spain and the artists who immortalised them. These stories are full of humanistic revelations and exciting tales of wondrous adventures that capture Spain's deep history and amazing culture.

The artworks presented here are Spain's best of the best in the genre of Historical Romantic Realism, and all can be found in the Prado Museum in Madrid. Let this book prepare you to encounter these great paintings and truly appreciate them for their artistry and beauty.”

The First Reviews to Come in...

“A word of praise for Karla Darocas' latest book. It is an excellent concept of combining world-class art with the history of Spain. I had never read these stories in English before, and I just love them. As always, Karla writes with knowledge and passion. The stories are illustrated by the paintings and the paintings are explained in the stories. My favourite is the story of the lovers of Teruel. We took a trip there with Karla some time ago and the group enjoyed the famous monument thanks to such a true insight into the subject. Spanish culture comes alive. Well recommended!”

* Trudi van Dorp, Benitachell

“What a wonderful idea to retell Spain's most passionate stories for us in English. As always, Karla's new book, Passion & Pride at the Prado, is written in her very knowledgeable and exciting style. She always explores and explains the most beautiful art. It really is a must-read for lovers of Spanish culture, as it opens up a world of understanding for your Spanish heritage. The seven stories in this book are charged with a mixture of emotions and offer a variety of insights into the deep historical roots of this great country.

My favourite stories? The Lovers of Teruel is a sad and beautiful true love story. It is one of those stories about an impossible love that comes between the class differences between rich and poor. The painting that shows the story is beautiful, and I hope to stand in front of it one day in the Prado Museum.

I also found the story of The Conversion of the Duke of Gandia very interesting. A must-visit is the Palace of Gandia and you will understand this trip better after reading the story. The painting that accompanies this story is also incredible. Looking at it again now in the Prado, I will understand its meaning even better.”

* Diana from Javea


I am working on my next book, but I'll also be trying out some FaceBook Live Readings and InstaGram! So keep up to date... or I'll put some readings on YouTube so you can tune in anytime? What do you think of that?

Feel Free to send this Newsletter to any Spanish Art Lovers.

Have a fun summer, Stay Cool is the Rule :) Artfully Yours,

Karla Darocas xx