Category Archives: People

Miquel Barceló in the Palais des Nations

In my blog entry dated July 2nd, 2007, I told you of a commission which the Felanitx born artist, Miquel Barceló, had accepted in Geneva (Switzerland). Felanitx is the town in Mallorca (Spain), where I made my home for the last twenty years.

I have it from a very reliable source that Miquel Barceló has accomplished the mammoth task. The mural painting for the 1,500 m2 domed ceiling of Room XX in the UN Palais des Nations building in Geneva is now completed and, apparently, the finished result is said to be rather impressive.

Here is some background information (I quote from the ONUART website):

In April, 2007, in a ceremony presided over by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé, the Fundación ONUART was established in Madrid (ONU is the Spanish acronym for the United Nations Organization). Fundación ONUART is a private, non-profit agency with mixed public and private funding, whose main aims are to promote dialogue, through the use of Spanish contemporary arts, to promote dialogue, to drive understanding between cultures and societies, and to foster multilateralism in Geneva. 

Fundación ONUART commissioned Spanish artist, Miquel Barceló, to create a unique ceiling painting for Room XX. This meeting venue will host the UN Human Rights Council and will be one of the largest and most state-of-the-art of all the negotiating rooms at the Palais des Nations. What also distinguishes Room XX in particular is that it has an enormous 1,500 m2 ellipsoidal dome. This dome provides the backdrop for the biggest challenge ever for 51-year-old artist. 

The Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilisations will be the room’s official title following its inauguration and it will be the permanent home of the newly created United Nations Human Rights Council. It will become the UN’s most modern negotiating room, using the latest materials and technology in audiovisual resources, conference services, interpretation systems, information technology and telecommunications.

Miquel Barceló, supported by a 20-strong team, was using some 35 tons of paint with pigments from all corners of the globe, specially designed equipment, with the involvement of specialists in various disciplines, including particle physics laboratories, engineers, architects and others in heritage restoration.   

The Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilisations is currently being fitted out and furnished to its 800+ seating capacity. I understand that the inauguration date is set for sometime in November, 2008. We just have to wait a bit longer before we can see what the man from Felanitx has created, this time.

In the meantime, an exhibition with work by the Felanitx artist opened last week at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (Ireland), called Miquel Barceló: The African Work. The show can be seen until 28th September, 2008. This exhibition will then travel to CAC Málaga, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga (Spain), where it will be opened in November, 2008.

The two photos (top and centre) show Miquel Barceló’s ceramic sculpture, Gran pot avec crânes sur 1 face, dated 2000. The photo (above) shows the artist in Room XX of the Palais des Nations, Geneva; it was borrowed from the Internet (© Agustí Torres – ONUART). Gracias.

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The 500 Most Important People in the History of Spain

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The Spanish Academia de la Historia published a concise edition of the most important historical Spaniards, the definitive ‘Primer Gran Diccionario Biográfico’. It is a compilation of the 40,000 most influential people in Spain during the last 2,355 years, up to and including La Infanta Leonor, Crown Prince Felipe’s first born daughter. It makes interesting reading. 

The tome is written in Spanish for the time being, as would be expected. 

Let me for now introduce you to the Top 500 personalities of the ‘Gran Diccionario Biográfico’, in alphabetical order (no, La Infanta Leonor does not yet make the Top 500). And no, I do not offer a translation here, I am afraid. The more interested blog readers may have a sufficient command of the Castilian language; those who don’t would probably not be sufficiently interested in the listing to make such a tedious task viable.

1. Abarca de Bolea y Ximénez de Urrea, Pedro Pablo. Conde de Aranda (1719-1798).

2. Abd al-Rahmán I. El Inmigrado (734-788). 

3. Abd al-Rahmán III (891-961). 

4. Abd al-Rahmán II (790-852). 

5. Abú al-Hasán Alí. Muley Hacén (1464-1485). 

6. Abu Yusuf Yaqub Al-Mansur (fallecido en 1485). 

7. Adriano, Publio Elio (76-138).

8. Aguirre, Francisco de (1508-1581).

9. Al-Hakam II (915-976). 

10. Alarcón y Ariza, Pedro Antonio (1833-1891). 

11. Albéniz Pascual, Isaac Manuel (1860-1909). 

12. Alberoni, Giulio (1664-1752). 

13. Alberto de Áustria (1559-1621). 

14. Alcalá-Galiano y Alcalá-Galiano, Dionisio (1762-1805). 

15. Alcalá-Zamora y Torres, Niceto (1877-1949). 

16. Aleixandre Merlo,Vicente (1898-1984). 

17. Alejandro VI. El Papa Borgia (1431-1503). 

18. Alemán, Mateo (1547-1613). 

19. Alfonso XII. El Pacificador (1857-1885). 

20. Alfonso I. El Batallador (1073-1134). 

21. Alfonso I. El Católico (fallecido en 757).

22. Alfonso II de Aragón. El Casto (1154-1196). 

23. Alfonso II de Asturias. El Casto (759-842). 

24. Alfonso III. El Magno (848-910). 

25. Alfonso IV. El Benigno (1299-1336). 

26. Alfonso IX (1171-1230). 

27. Alfonso V. El Magnánimo (1394-1458). 

28. Alfonso V. El Noble (999-1028). 

29. Alfonso VI (1040-1109). 

30. Alfonso VII. El Emperador (1105-1157). 

31. Alfonso VIII. El de Las Navas (1155-1214).

32. Alfonso X. El Sabio (1221-1284). 

33. Alfonso XI. El Justiciero (1311-1350). 

34. Alfonso XIII (1886-1941). 

35. Almanzor (940-1002). 

36. Alonso Martínez, Manuel (1827-1891). 

37. Alonso Vega, Camilo (1889-1971). 

38. Alonso y Fernández de las Redondas, Dámaso (1898-1990). 

39. Alvarado, Pedro de (1485-1541).

40. Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, Fernando. El Gran Duque. Duque de Alba (III) (1507-1582). 

41. Amadeo I de Saboya. Duque de Aosta (1873-1933). 

42. Aníbal (247-182 a.C.). 

43. Aranda Mata, Antonio (1888-1979). 

44. Argüelles Álvarez, Agustín de. El Divino (1776-1844). 

45. Asenjo Barbieri, Francisco (1823-1894). 

46. Atahualpa (1500-1533). 

47. Augusto (63 a.C.-14 d.C.). 

48. Áustria, Carlos de. Príncipe don Carlos (1545-1568). 

49. Áustria, Jerónimo. Juan de Áustria (1545-1578). 

50. Áustria, Juan José de (1629-1679). 

51. Áustria, Margarita de (1584-1611). 

52. Azaña Díaz, Manuel (1880-1940). 

53. Aznar López, José María (1953-). 

54. Baroja y Nessi, Pío (1872-1956). 

55. Bartolomé de las Casas, Fray (1484-1566). 

56. Bazán y Guzmán, Álvaro de (1526-1588). 

57. Becerra y Bermúdez, Manuel (1823-1896). 

58. Bello López, Andrés (1781-1865). 

59. Ben Maimon, Rabí Moseh. Maimónides (1135-1204). 

60. Ben Rushd, Abú-l-Walíd Mohammed. Averroes (1126-1198). 

61. Benavente Martínez, Jacinto (1866-1954). 

62. Benlliure Gil, Mariano (1862-1947). 

63. Berceo, Gonzalo de (1198?-1264?).

64. Berenguer Fusté, Dámaso. (1878-1953). 

65. Berruguete, Alonso (1488-1561). 

66. Berruguete, Pedro (c.1450-c. 1503). 

67. Betancourt y Molina, Agustín de (1758-1824).

68. Blanca I de Navarra (1386-1441). 

69. Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente (1867-1928). 

70. Boccherini, Luigi (1743-1805). 

71. Bolívar, Simón (1783-1830). 

72. Borbón y Battenberg, Juan de. Juan III, Conde de Barcelona. (1913-1993).

73. Borbón y Borbón, Carlos María Isidro de. Conde de Molina, Carlos V (1788-1855). 

74. Borja, Alfonso de. Calixto III (1455-1458). 

75. Bravo Murillo, Juan (1803-1873). 

76. Bretón Hernández, Tomás (1850-1923). 

77. Buero Vallejo, Antonio (1916-2000). 

78. Buñuel Portolés, Luis (1900-1983).

79. Cabezón, Antonio de (1510-1566). 

80. Cabrera Griñó, Ramón (1806-1877). 

81. Cabrera y Felipe, Blas (1878-1945). 

82. Cala y Jarana, Elio Antonio de. Elio Antonio de Nebrija (1441-1522).

83. Calderón de la Barca y Henao, Pedro (1600-1681). 

84. Calvo Sotelo, José (1893-1936).

85. Cambó y Batlle, Francisco de Asís (1876-1947). 

86. Canalejas Méndez, José (1854-1912). 

87. Cano, Alonso (1601-1667). 

88. Cánovas del Castillo, Antonio (1828-1897).

89. Carlos I de España y V deAlemania (1500-1558). 

90. Carlos II. El Hechizado (1661-1700). 91. Carlos II. El Malo (1332-1387).

92. Carlos III (1716-1788). 

93. Carlos III. El Noble (1361-1425). 

94. Carlos IV (1748-1819).

95. Carlos VI (1685-1740). 

96. Carrero Blanco, Luis (1903-1973). 

97. Carrillo de Albornoz y Montiel, José Ignacio. 

98. Carvajal y Lancáster, José de (1698-1754). 

99. Casado López, Segismundo (1893-1968). 

100. Casals, Pau (1876-1973). 

101. Casas Nóvoa, Fernando de (?-1749). 

102. Castaños y Aragorri, Francisco Javier (1756-1852). 

103. Castelar y Ripoll, Emilio (1832-1899). 

104. Castillo, Fray Florencio del (1778 -1834). 

105. Castro de Murguía, Rosalía de (1837-1885). 

106. Catalina de Aragón (1485-1536). 

107. Cavanilles Palop, Antonio José (1745-1804). 

108. Cela Trulock, Camilo José (1916-2002). 

109. Cernuda Bidón, Luis (1902-1963). 

110. Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de (1547-1616). 

111. Cervera Topete, Pascual (1839-1909). 

112. César, Cayo Julio (110-44 a.C.). 

113. Cierva y Codorniú, Juan de la (1895-1936). 

114. Cieza de León, Pedro (1518-1554). 

115. Císcar y Císcar, Gabriel (1760-1829). 

116. Coello de Portugal y Quesada, Francisco (1822-1898). 

117. Coello, Claudio (1642-1693). 

118. Colón, Bartolomé (1461-1514). 

119. Colón, Cristóbal (1451-1506).

120. Colón, Diego (1482-1526). 

121. Colón, Hernando (1488-1539). 

122. Colonia, Juan de (1410 -1479). 

123. Columela, Lucio Junio Moderato (siglo I a.C.). 

124. Companys i Jover, Lluís (1883-1940). 

125. Cortés, Hernán (1485-1547). 

126. Cosa, Juan de la (1449-1510). 

127. Costa Martínez, Joaquín (1846-1911). 

128. Covarrubias y Leyva, Diego de (1512-1577). 

129. Covarrubias, Alonso de (1488-1570). 

130. Cuauhtémoc, Guatimoz (1502-1525). 

131. Chapí Lorente, Ruperto (1851-1909).

132. Chueca Robles, Federico (1846-1908). 

133. Churriguera, José Benito de (1665-1725). 

134. Churruca y Elorza, Cosme Damián (1761-1805). 

135. Dalí y Domenech, Salvador (1904-1989). 

136. Daoiz y Torres, Luís (1767-1808). 

137. Dato Iradier, Eduardo (1856-1921). 

138. Dávalos, Alfonso (1502-1546). 

139. Díaz de Vivar, Rodrigo. El Cid Campeador (1043-1099). 

140. Díaz del Castillo, Bernal (1495-1584). 

141. Díaz Ordóñez Escandón, Salvador (1845-1911). 

142. Domingo de Guzmán y Aza, Santo (1170-1221). 

143. Domínguez Bastida, Gustavo Adolfo. Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870). 

144. Echegaray y Eizaguirre, José de (1832-1916). 

145. Elcano, Juan Sebastián (1476-1526). 

146. Elorza y Aguirre, Francisco Antonio (1798-1873). 

147. Enrique II de Navarra (1503-1555). 

148. Enrique II. El de las Mercedes (1333-1379). 

149. Enrique III. El Doliente (1379-1406).

150. Enrique IV de Castilla. El Impotente (1425-1474). 

151. Ercilla y Zúñiga, Alonso de (1533-1594). 

152. Escaño y García de Cáceres, Antonio de (1750-1814). 

153. Espoz y Mina Ilundain, Francisco (1781-1836). 

154. Falla Mateu, Manuel de (1876-1946). 

155. Farnesio, Alejandro. Duque de Parma (1545-1592). 

156. Feijóo y Montenegro Puga, Benito Jerónimo (1676-1764). 

157. Felipe I. El Hermoso (1478-1506). 

158. Felipe II (1527-1598). 

159. Felipe III (1578-1621). 

160. Felipe IV (1605-1665). 

161. Felipe V (1683-1746). 

162. Fernán González (930-970). 

163. Fernández-Espartero Álvarez de Toro, Joaquín Baldomero (1793-1879). 

164. Fernández-Miranda y Hevia, Torcuato (1915-1980). 

165. Fernández de Castro Andrade y Portugal, Pedro (1632-1672). 

166. Fernández de Córdoba, Gonzalo. El Gran Capitán (1453-1515). 

167. Fernández de Moratín, Leandro (1760-1828).

168. Fernández Ladreda Menéndez Valdés, José María (1885-1954). 

169. Fernández Pacheco y Zúñiga, Juan Manuel (1650-1725). 

170. Fernández, Gregorio (1576-1636). 

171. Fernando I de Áustria (1503-1564). 

172. Fernando I de Castilla y León (1016-1065). 

173. Fernando I. El de Antequera (1379-1416). 

174. Fernando II de León (1137-1188). 

175. Fernando III. El Santo (1201-1252). 

176. Fernando IV (1285-1312). 

177. Fernando V de Castilla y II de Aragón. El Católico (1452-1516). 

178. Fernando VI (1713-1759). 

179. Fernando VII (1784-1833). 

180. Figueras y Moragas, Estanislao (1819-1882). 

181. Figueroa y Torres, Álvaro de (1863-1950). 

182. Flórez de Setién Huidobro y Velasco, Enrique Fernando (1702-1773). 

183. Fortuny y Marsal, Mariano José María (1838-1874).

184. Francisco de Borja y Aragón, San (1577-1658). 

185. Francisco Javier, San (1506-1552). 

186. Francisco Solano, San. Apóstol de Perú (1549-1610). 

187. Franco Bahamonde, Francisco (1892-1975). 

188. Gabriel Téllez, Fray. Tirso de Molina (1579-1648). 

189. Galindo, Beatriz. La Latina (1465-1534). 

190. Gálvez, Bernardo de (1746-1786). 

191. García-Alas y Ureña, Leopoldo. Clarín (1852-1901). 

192. García de la Cuesta, Gregorio (1741-1811). 

193. García Lorca, Federico (1898-1936). 

194. García Morato Castaño, Joaquín (1904-1939). 

195. Gaudí Cornet, Antonio (1852-1926).

196. Gelmírez, Diego de (1069-1140). 

197. Gil de Hontañón, Juan (1505-1577). 

198. Giordano, Luca. Lucas Jordán (1634-1705). 

199. Girón y Ezpeleta Las Casas y Enrile, Francisco Javier (1803-1869). 

200. Godoy Álvarez de Faria, Manuel de (1767-1851). 

201. Gómez Becerra, Álvaro (1771-1855). 

202. Gómez de la Serna, Ramón (1888-1963). 

203. Gómez de Mora, Juan (1586-1646). 

204. Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, Francisco. Duque de Lerma (?-1624). 

205. Gómez de Silva, Ruy. Duque de Pastrana (I) Príncipe de Éboli (1516-1573). 

206. Góngora y Argote, Luis de (1561-1627). 

207. González-Gallarza Iragorri, Eduardo (1898-1986). 

208. González de Mendoza, Pedro. (1428-1495).

209. González Márquez, Felipe (1942- ).

210. González Pellicer, Julio. 

211. González Pérez, José Victoriano. Juan Gris (1887-1927). 

212. Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de (1746-1828). 

213. Gracián y Morales, Baltasar (1601-1658). 

214. Granados Campiña, Enrique (1867-1916). 

215. Gravina y Napoli, Federico Carlos (1756-1806). 

216. Grimaldi Pallavicini y Spinola, Pablo Jerónimo. Marqués de Grimaldi, duque de Grimaldi (1720-1786). 

217. Guas, Juan (?-1496). 

218. Gutiérrez de la Concha Masón Irigoyen de la Quintana, Manuel. Marqués del Duero (1806-1874). 

219. Gutiérrez Mellado, Manuel (1912-1995). 

220. Gutiérrez Solana, José (1886-1945). 

221. Guzmán y Pimentel Rivera y Velasco de Tovar, Gaspar de. Conde-Duque de Olivares (I) (1587-1645). 

222. Hamen y León, Juan van der (1596-1631). 

223. Hernández, Francisco (1517-1587). 

224. Hernando de Talavera, Fray (1428-1507). 

225. Herrera Oria, Ángel (1886-1968). 

226. Herrera, Juan de (c. 1530-1597). 

227. Hurtado de Mendoza, Diego (1503-1575). 

228. Ibn-Zeyad, Tarik (primera mitad del siglo VIII). 

229. Iglesias Posse, Pablo (1850-1925). 

230. Ignacio de Loyola, San (1491-1556). 

231. Isabel Clara Eugenia (1566-1633). 

232. Isabel I. La Católica (1451-1504). 

233. Isabel II (1830-1904). 

234. Isidoro de Sevilla, San (c. 560-636). 

235. Jaime I. El Conquistador (1208-1276). 

236. Jiménez de Cisneros, Francisco (1436-1517). 

237. Jiménez de Rada, Rodrigo (1170-1247). 

238. Jiménez Mantecón, Juan Ramón (1881-1958). 

239. José de Calasanz, San (1556-1648). 

240. José I Bonaparte (1768-1844). 

241. Jovellanos y Ramírez, Gaspar Melchor de. Jovino (1744-1811). 

242. Juan Carlos I (1938- ). 

243. Juan de Dios, San (1495-1550). 

244. Juan de la Cruz, San (1542-1591). 

245. Juan I de Aragón (1350-1396).

246. Juan II de Aragón y de Navarra (1398-1479). 

247. Juan II de Castilla (1405-1454). 

248. Juan Macías, San (1585-1645). 

249. Juan Manuel, Don (1282-1348). 

250. Juan y Santacilia, Jorge (1713-1773).

251. Juana de Castilla. La Beltraneja (1462-1530). 

252. Juana I. La Loca (1479-1555). 

253. Juana Inés de la Cruz, Sor (1651-1695). 

254. Juni, Juan de (c. 1507-1577). 

255. Kindelán y Duany, Alfredo (1879-1962).

256. Laín Entralgo, Pedro (1908-2001). 

257. Largo Caballero, Francisco (1869-1946).

258. Larra y Sánchez de Castro, Mariano José de. (1809-1837). 

259. León Pinelo, Antonio de (1594-1660). 

260. Leoni, Pompeo (1533-1608). 

261. Leovigildo. Flavio Leovigildo Rex (?-586). 

262. Lerroux García, Alejandro (1864-1949). 

263. Lezo y Olavarrieta, Blas de (1687-1741). 

264. López de Ayala, Pero (1332-1407). 

265. López de Legazpi Gurruchátegui, Miguel (1505-1572). 

266. López de Mendoza, Íñigo (II). Marqués de Santillana (1398-1458). 

267. López Portaña, Vicente (1772-1850).

268. Luís de León, Fray (c. 1527-1591). 

269. Luís I de España (1707-1724). 

270. Luján Miguel-Romero, Francisco (1798 1867). 

271. Luna, Álvaro de (1390?-1453). 

272. Luna, Pedro de. Benedicto XIII. El Papa Luna (c. 1328-1423). 

273. Luque, Hernando de (fallecido en 1532). 

274. Llull, Ramón (1232-1316). 

275. Macià y Llusà, Francesc (1859-1933). 

276. Machado y Ruiz, Antonio (1875-1939). 

277. Machuca, Pedro (?-1550). 

278. Madoz Ibáñez, Pascual (1806-1870). 

279. Madrazo y Kuntz, Federico de (1815-1894). 

280. Magallanes, Fernando de (c. 1480-1521). 

281. Malaspina y Melipuppi, Alessandro (1754-1810). 

282. Manrique, Jorge (1440-1479). 

283. Marañón y Posadillo, Gregorio (1887-1960). 

284. María Cristina de Borbón dos Sicilias (1806-1878). 

285. María Cristina de Habsburgo-Lorena (1858-1929). 

286. María de Molina. Señora de Molina (?-1321). 

287. Mariana de Áustria (1634-1696). 

288. Mariana, Juan de (1536-1624). 

289. Martí, José (1853-1895).

290. Martín Díez, Juan. El Empecinado (1775-1825). 

291. Martínez de Campos y Antón, Arsenio (1831-1900). 

292. Martínez de Irala, Domingo (1509-1556). 

293. Martínez Ruiz, José. Azorín (1873-1967). 

294. Masip, Vicente Juan. Juan de Juanes (1523-1579). 

295. Mateo-Sagasta Escolar, Práxedes (1825-1903). 

296. Mateo, Maestro (s. XII-s.XIII). 

297. Maura y Montaner, Antonio (1853-1925). 

298. Meléndez, Luís (1716-1780). 

299. Mena Medrano, Pedro de (1628-1688). 

300. Mena, Juan de (1411-1456). 

301. Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, Luís. Luís de Haro (1598-1661). 

302. Mendoza Pacheco, Antonio de. Marqués de Mondéjar (1490-1552). 

303. Mendoza y de la Cerda, Ana. Princesa de Éboli (1540-1592). 

304. Menéndez Pelayo, Marcelino (1856-1912). 

305. Menéndez Pidal, Ramón (1869-1968). 

306. Mengs, Antonio Rafael (1728-1779). 

307. Mesa y Velasco, Juan de (1583-1627). 

308. Miaja Menant, José (1878-1958). 

309. Miranda, Francisco de (1750-1816). 

310. Miró Ferra, Joan (1893-1983). 

311. Miró Ferrer, Gabriel (1879-1930). 

312. Moctezuma II (1468-1520). 

313. Mola Vidal, Emilio. (1887-1937). 

314. Mompou Mompou, Federico (1893-1987). 

315. Montenegro Gutiérrez, Diego de. Diego de Almagro (1475-1538). 

316. Montero Ríos, Eugenio María (1832-1914). 

317. Moñino y Redondo, José. Conde de Floridablanca (1728-1808). 

318. Mora Fernández, Juan (1784-1854). 

319. Moreno Torroba, Federico (1891-1982). 

320. Moret y Prendergast, Segismundo (1838-1913). 

321. Moscardó Ituarte, José. Conde del Alcázar de Toledo (1878-1956). 

322. Muhammad XI. Boabdil (1459-1528). 

323. Múñoz Grandes, Agustín (1896-1970). 

324. Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban (1617-1682). 

325. Mutis y Bosio, José Celestino (1732-1808). 

326. Narváez y Campos, Ramón María (1800-1868). 

327. Narváez, Luis de (1490-1547). 

328. Navarro Rubio, Mariano (1913-2001). 

329. Navia-Osorio y Vigil de Quiñones, Álvaro José de (1684-1732).

330. Negrín López, Juan (1891-1956). 

331. Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar (c. 1490-c. 1557). 

332. Núñez de Balboa, Vasco (1475-1519). 

333. O’Donnell y Jorris, Leopoldo (1809-1867). 

334. O’Higgins, Ambrosio (1720-1801). 

335. Ochoa de Albornoz, Severo (1905-1993). 

336. Olavide y Jaúregui, Pablo Antonio de. Anastasio Céspedes y Monroy (1725-1803). 

337. Ordoño I (?-866). 

338. Orleans y Borbón, Alfonso de. Duque de Galliera, Infante de España (1886-1975). 

339. Ors y Rovira, Eugenio d‘. Xenius (1881-1954). 

340. Ortega y Gasset, José (1883-1955). 

341. Ovando, Nicolás de (1451-1511). 

342. Pacheco Téllez Girón de Mendoza y Toledo, Juan Francisco. (1640-1718). 

343. Pacheco, Juan. (1449-1474). 

344. Palafox y Mendoza, Juan (1600-1659). 

345. Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio (1655-1726). 

346. Pardo Bazán, Emilia (1852-1921). 

347. Pardo de Tavera, Juan (1534-1545). 

348. Parma, Margarita de. Duquesa de Parma (1522-1586). 

349. Patiño y Rosales, Baltasar (1666-1733). 

350. Patiño y Rosales, José (1666-1736). 

351. Paula Montal Fornés, Santa (1799-1889). 

352. Pavía y Rodríguez de Albuquerque, Manuel María (1827-1895).

353. Pedro I. El Cruel (1334-1369). 

354. Pedro de Alcántara, San (1499-1562). 

355. Pedro I de Aragón. Pedro I Sánchez El Católico (1068-1104). 

356. Pedro II de Aragón. El Católico (c. 1177-1213). 

357. Pedro III. El Grande (1240-1285). 

358. Pedro IV. El Ceremonioso o el del Puñalet (1319-1387). 

359. Pelayo. Don Pelayo (?-737). 

360. Peral y Caballero, Isaac (1851-1895). 

361. Pereda y Sánchez de Porrúa, José María de (1833-1906). 

362. Pérez de Ayala, Ramón (1888-1962). 

363. Pérez de Guzmán, Alonso. Guzmán el Bueno (1255-1309). 

364. Pérez Galdós, Benito (1843-1920).

365. Pérez Villaamil, Jenaro (1807-1854). 

366. Pérez, Antonio (1540-1611). 

367. Pi y Margall, Francisco (1824-1901). 

368. Pinazo Camerlench, Ignacio (1849-1916). 

369. Pinzón, Martín Alonso (1440-1493). 

370. Pinzón, Vicente Yáñez (1461-1514). 

371. Pizarro, Francisco (1476-1541). 

372. Plinio. El Viejo (23-79 d.C.). 

373. Ponce de León, Juan (1465-1521). 

374. Ponce de León, Rodrigo (1444-1492). 

375. Portocarrero Lasso de la Vega, Melchor Antonio (1636-1705). 

376. Prieto Tuero, Indalecio (1883-1962). 

377. Prim y Prats, Juan (1814-1870). 

378. Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, Miguel (1870-1930). 

379. Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia, José Antonio (1903-1936). 

380. Prudencio Clemente, Aurelio (348-415). 

381. Queipo de Llano y Ruiz de Saravia, José María (1786-1843). 

382. Queipo de Llano y Sierra, Gonzalo (1875-1951). 

383. Quevedo y Villegas, Francisco de (1580-1645). 

384. Quintiliano, Marco Fabio (35-95 d. C.). 

385. Quiroga, Vasco de. Tata Vasco (1479-1565). 

386. Ramírez de Saavedra y Rodríguez de Baquedano, Ángel. Duque de Rivas III (1791-1865).

387. Ramiro I de Astúrias (791-850). 

388. Ramón Berenguer IV. El Santo (1113-1162). 

389. Ramón y Cajal, Santiago (1852-1934). 

390. Rebolledo de Palafox y Melci, José de (1776-1847). 

391. Recaredo, Flavio. Recaredo Rex (?-601). 

392. Rey Pastor, Julio (1888-1962). 

393. Ribalta, Francisco de (1565-1628). 

394. Ribera, José de. El Españoleto (1591-1652). 

395. Ribera, Pedro de (1683?-1742). 

396. Rodrigo Vidre, Joaquín (1901-1999). 

397. Rodríguez de Campomanes y Pérez de Sorriba, Pedro. Conde de Campomanes (1723-1803). 

398. de Silva y Velázquez, Diego (1599-1660).

399. Rodríguez Tizón, Ventura (1717-1785). 

400. Rojas, Fernando de (1475-1541). 

401. Rojo Lluch, Vicente (1894-1966). 

402. Romero Robledo, Francisco (1838-1906). 

403. Ros de Olano y Perpiñá, Antonio José Teodoro (1808-1886). 

404. Rosales y Martínez, Eduardo (1836- 1873). 

405. Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza, Juan (1581?-1639). 

406. Ruiz Mendoza, Jacinto (1779-1809). 

407. Ruiz Picasso, Pablo (1881-1973). 

408. Ruiz Zorrilla, Manuel (1833-1895). 

409. Ruiz, Juan. Arcipreste de Hita (c. 1283-c. 1350). 

410. Saavedra Fajardo, Diego de (1584-1648). 

411. Sabatini, Francesco (1722-1797). 

412. Sacchetti, Giovanni Battista (1690-1764). 

413. Salamanca y Mayol, José de. Marqués de Salamanca. (1811-1883). 

414. Salas Larrazábal, Ángel (1906-1994). 

415. Salmerón y Alonso, Nicolás (1838-1908). 

416. Salzillo y Alcaraz, Francisco (1707-1783). 

417. San Martín Matorras, José de (1778-1850). 

418. Sánchez-Albornoz y Menduiña, Claudio (1893-1984). 

419. Sánchez Coello, Alonso (1531-1588). 

420. Sánchez Guerra Martínez, José (1859-1935). 

421. Sánchez y Fernández de la Cotera, Tomás Antonio (1725-1802). 

422. Sancho Garcés II. Abarca (fallecido en 994). 

423. Sancho Garcés III. El Mayor (c. 992-1035). 

424. Sancho Garcés IV. El de Peñalén (1040-1076). 

425. Sancho I Ramírez (1043-1094). 

426. Sancho IV. El Bravo (1258-1295). 

427. Sancho VI. El Sabio (fallecido en 1194). 

428. Sancho VII. El Fuerte (1154-1234). 

429. Sanjurjo y Sacanell, José (1872-1936).

430. Santa Cruz, Alonso de (c. 1505-c. 1572). 

431. Sarasate Navascués, Pablo (1844-1908). 

432. Scarlatti, Domenico (1685-1757). 

433. Séneca, Lucio Anneo. Séneca, el Filósofo (c. 4 a.C.-65 d.C.).

434. Sepúlveda, Juan Ginés de (c. 1490-1573) ). 

435. Serrano Suñer, Ramón (1901-2003). 

436. Servet Conesa, Miguel (1511-1553). 

437. Siloé, Diego de (c. 1495-1563). 

438. Siloé, Gil (último tercio del siglo XV). 

439. Silvela y de la Vielleuze, Francisco. (1843-1905). 

440. Sofía de Grecia (1938- ).

441. Soler Ramos, Antonio (1729-1783). 

442. Solórzano y Pereyra, Juan de (1575-1655) ). 

443. Somodevilla y Bengoechea, Zenón de. Marqués de la Ensenada (I) (1702-1781). 

444. Sor Montadas, José Fernando Macario (1778-1839). 

445. Soria y Mata, Arturo (1844-1920). 

446. Sorolla Bastida, Joaquín (1863-1923). 

447. Soto, Hernando de (c. 1500-1542). 

448. Spínola y Grimaldi, Ambrosio de (1569-1630). 

449. Suárez González, Adolfo. Duque de Suárez (I) (1932- ). 

450. Tarradellas i Joan, Josep (1899-1988). 

451. Teodosio (c. 346-395). 

452. Teresa de Jesús, Santa (1515-1582). 

453. Theoto- kúpoulos, Doménikos. El Greco (1541-1614). 

454. Tiépolo, Giovanni Batistta (1696-1770). 

455. Toledo y Figueroa, Francisco de (1516-1582). 

456. Toledo, Juan Bautista de (fallecido en 1567).

457. Tomás de Villanueva, Santo (1488-1561). 

458. Tomé, Narciso (?-1742). 

459. Torquemada, Fray Tomás de (1420-1498).

460. Torres Quevedo, Leonardo (1852-1936). 

461. Torroja Miret, Eduardo (1899-1961). 

462. Trajano, Marco Ulpio (c. 53-117). 

463. Turina Pérez, Joaquín (1882-1949). 

464. Unamuno y Jugo, Miguel de (1864-1936). 

465. Urraca de León (c. 1080-1126). 

466. Vaca de Castro, Cristóbal (c. 1492-1566). 

467. Valdés Leal, Juan de (1622-1690). 

468. Valdés y Flores, Cayetano (1767- 1835). 

469. Valdés, Juan de (c. 1509-1542). 

470. Valdivia, Pedro de (1497-1553). 

471. Valera y Alcalá Galiano, Juan (1824-1905). 

472. Valle y Peña, Ramón José del. Ramón María del Valle-Inclán (1866-1936). 

473. Vallés, Francisco (1524-1592). 

474. Vara del Rey y Rubio, Joaquín (1840-1898).

475. Vargas y Ponce, José de (1760-1821). 

476. Vega Carpio, Lope de (1562-1635). 

477. Vega, Garcilaso de la (c. 1501-1536). 

478. Velasco y de Castilla, Luis de (1511-1564). 

479. Velázquez de Cuéllar, Diego de (1465-1524). 

480. Verdaguer Santaló, Jacint (1845-1902). 

481. Vespucci, Amerigo Mateo (1454-1512). 

482. Vicente Ferrer, San (1350-1419). 

483. Victoria, Tomás Luis de (1548-1611).

484. Villaamil y Fernández Cueto, Fernando (1845-1898). 

485. Villanueva, Juan de (1739-1811).

486. Vitoria Compludo, Francisco de (1486-1546). 

487. Vives March, Juan Luís (1492-1540). 

488. Vives y Vich, Pedro (1858-1938). 

489. Yagüe Blanco, Juan (1891-1952). 

490. Yañez de la Almedina, Fernando (?-1536). 

491. Yusuf I (1318-1354). 

492. Zafra, Hernando de. Señor de Castril (1460-1507). 

493. Zorrilla y Moral, José (1817-1893). 

494. Zubiri Apalategui, Xavier (1898-1983). 

495. Zumalacárregui y de Imaz, Tomás de (1788-1835). 

496. Zumárraga, Juan de (1468-1548). 

497. Zúñiga y Acevedo, Gaspar de (1560-1606). 

498. Zúñiga y Guzmán, Baltasar (1658-1727). 

499. Zúñiga y Velasco, Baltasar de (1561-1622). 

500. Zurbarán y Salazar, Francisco de (1598-1664).

 

I might well tell you more about one or the other of these people, in a blog entry to come. Just in case you should be interested.

 

Primus Circumdedistum

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On the last day of this year I want to tell you about something first ever. Or rather, someone who was the first one ever.

Juan Sebastián Elcano was the first man, and a Spanish one at that, who ever made the complete circumnavigation of the globe. Of course, the world thinks that it was Portuguese-born naval commander and navigator Hernando Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães) to claim such a feat, but one tends to overlook that Magellan was killed during a fight with natives in the Philippine Islands, half way through the circumference. Hence, Magellan attempted, but never completed the full circuit. 

Once Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese arrived in India in 1498, it became urgent for Spain to find a new commercial route to Asia and the Spice Islands. The Treaty of Tordesillas (see my entry dated  April 6th, 2007) reserved for Portugal the sea routes that went around Africa. The Spanish Crown therefore decided to send out exploratory expeditions in order to find a way to Asia, travelling westwards. 

Magellan had tried, but had failed to convince Manuel, the 14th King of Portugal and the Algarves, of such an endeavour. However, he was more successful in convincing the Spanish King Carlos V of his proposition. 

Magellan set out from Sevilla, Spain, in 1519 in service of the Spanish Crown with an expeditionary fleet of five vessels and a total of 265 men, including 40 from the Basque land (amongst which Juan Elcano from Getaria, Guipúzcoa). After Magellan’s death, it was Juan Elcano who brought the only surviving of Magellan’s original five ships, the Victoria, back to Sevilla with a handful of survivors, in September 1522, after a journey lasting three years and one month.

An adventurer, Elcano fought under orders of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba in Italy and, in 1509, he joined the expedition organized by Cardinal Cisneros against Algiers. Later, he settled himself in Sevilla and became a merchant ship captain.

After violating Castilian law by surrendering a ship of his to Genoan bankers in repayment of a debt, he sought a pardon from the Spanish King, by signing on, as a subordinate officer, to Hernando Magellan’s expedition to open a westward route to the Spice Islands (Molucca Islands). He was spared from execution by Magellan after taking part in a failed mutiny in Patagonia and, after five months of hard labour in chains, Elcano was made captain of the Concepción, one of the five vessels.

Elcano went on to take command of the fleet when Magellan was killed in the battle of Mactan, the Philippines, on April 27th, 1521. Only three ships of the original fleet survived by then, but there were insufficient hands to man them, so Elcano set the Concepción on fire and continued the voyage with the Trinidad and the Victoria.

Confused as to what direction to take, they sailed west towards Borneo, where they contacted the Sultan of Brunei. After a conflict with the Sultan’s men, they sailed back eastward and then southeast towards the Spice Islands.

After arriving in the Molucca Islands November 8th, 1521, and loading the ships with spices, he divided the fleet: the Trinidad was to sail back through the Pacific Ocean, while the Victoria, captained by Elcano himself, would risk the passage of the Indian Ocean, a Portuguese controlled area. The Trinidad was left behind for repairs and was later stripped by the Portuguese and destroyed in a squall.

 

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In order to avoid conflict with the Portuguese, Elcano sailed directly from Timor through the Indian Ocean without approaching the coast. They reached Cape of Good Hope on May 6th, 1522.

After two months without re-supplying, in July 1522, the Victoria, without enough water or other necessary supplies, arrived at the Cabo Verde Islands, a Portuguese base in the Atlantic coast of Africa. Elcano lied to the Portuguese authorities pretending that he was sailing from the Castilian territories in America. Yet one of the sailors eventually revealed the fabrication and Elcano had to part hastily from Cabo Verde.

On September 6th, 1522, Elcano sailed into Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, aboard the Victoria, after a 78,000 km trip around the world, along with 17 other survivors of the 265 men who originally had embarked on the expedition. The profits resulting from the spices they carried made them suitably rich.

For completing the first world circumnavigation in History and the unprecedented final sailing from the Philippines to Spain, King Carlos V awarded Juan Elcano a coat of arms with the words Primus circumdedisti me (‘You went around me first’) surrounding a world globe, plus an annual pension.

In July, 1525, Elcano sailed again from Spain, in a second expedition under command of Garcia Loaiza, and, after making some explorations on the eastern coast of South America, passed again through Magellan’s Strait, in May 1526. Loaiza died in July of that year and Elcano succeeded him, but did not survive him for very long. The voyage eventually led to the second circumnavigation of the globe, but without Elcano completing the full circuit the second time round.

The Basque people in Spain are particularly proud of Juan Sebastián Elcano for being a native of the País Vasco. The first circumnavigation of the globe was the greatest single journey ever made, by far exceeding Cristobal Colom’s discovery of the West Indies. By comparison, all subsequent journeys have been increments on the known.

On the day the leaking Victoria returned home, Elcano wrote to his King and Emperor ‘we have given practical proof that the earth is a sphere’, adding ‘having sailed round it, coming from the west, we have come back through the east’.

There has not been any event in the history of exploration which provoked among the general population such a sense of the miraculous.

Juan Sebastián Elcano’s statue (see main photo above) is erected in Getaria, Guipúzcoa, in the País Vasco. Say hello for me if you ever make it there.

Imagine All the People Living Life in Peace…

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Twenty-seven years ago today, Mark David Chapman put a vicious end to the life of John Lennon (1940 – 1980). Lennon was the outstanding English songwriter, musician, singer, artist, author and peace activist who became famous worldwide as the founder of the Sixties pop group, The Beatles.

John Winston Lennon was perhaps the more intrepid part of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Lennon/McCartney partnership, writing songs for The Beatles as well as other artists. Lennon, with his cynical edge, knack for introspection and, at times, wicked humour, and McCartney, with his story-telling optimism and gift for melody, complemented each other unlike any other songwriter duo. In his solo career, Lennon wrote and recorded songs such as “Beautiful Boy”, “Give Peace a Chance”, “Imagine”, “Mother”, “Woman” and “Working Class Hero”.

Lennon revealed his rebellious nature and flippant wit on television, in films such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964), in books such as In His Own Write as well as A Spaniard in the Works, in press conferences, interviews and through his peace actions, such as the bed-ins in Amsterdam and Montreal. He channelled his fame and penchant for controversy into his work as a peace activist, artist and author.

John Lennon had two sons, Julian, with his first wife Cynthia, and Sean, with his second wife, Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. Both sons have tried their hand at performing. Lennon was murdered in cold blood by Chapman in New York City on December 8th, 1980, as he and Ono returned home from a recording session.

The photo (above) shows John Lennon performing onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York City with Elton John, as a result of having lost a wager that his song “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” (which Elton John also played and sang on) would hit No. 1 on the pop chart (on November 11th). This event turned into Lennon’s last concert appearance ever (November 28th, 1974).

 

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A film about John Lennon’s assassination, The Killing of John Lennon, directed by Andrew Piddington, premiered in Lennon’s birthplace Liverpool (UK) five days ago.

 

Lennon’s utopian dream of people living life in peace continues to be shared by many.

 

Frédéric Chopin’s Hapless Trip to Mallorca

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Mallorca always had an infatuation with famous people. Be that the Spanish Royal family, the British Princess Diana, filmstars Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Goldie Hawn, Danny DeVito, or even longer ago, Frédéric Chopin and George Sand. As long as they all are rich and famous.

I told you about Amandine Aurore Dudevant, aka George Sand, on an earlier occasion on this very blog (see August 3rd). She came to Mallorca in 1838, accompanying Frédéric Chopin, the Polish composer and pianist.

 

Born near Warsaw in 1810, the son of a French émigré and a Polish mother, Frédéric François Chopin won early fame in the relatively limited circles of his native country, before seeking his fortune abroad, in Paris. 

 

Chopin began to play the piano with verve at the age of 5, taught by his older sister Ludwika. His talent was immediately apparent, and the services of a piano teacher were soon enlisted in order to support his practice. Chopin was a highly dedicated student. It is even said that at the early age of 7 he slept, by his own free will, with wine-corks between his fingers in order to achieve a wider grip. He knew his destiny. 

 

After the studies, Chopin went to Vienna, where he was recognized as a decent pianist with some nicely written compositions, but altogether, it was not the success he had hoped for. Thus, he went back to Warsaw and, later, set his course for Paris. In Paris, Chopin did not immediately achieve success. It took a couple of hard years of composing and performing before he had worked himself into the High Society where he gave lessons to Royals and received the highest appreciation for his compositions. Chopin quickly became famous not only as a composer or teacher but also as a pianist.

 

Chopin was never to return to Poland again and made very few trips outside of France, mainly because of his weak health. The most famous of his trips may be a disastrous one to Mallorca which nearly cost him his life and another one, to Scotland, which was equally bad for his health. 

 

Chopin was diagnosed with Tuberculosis early in his life and it is quite surprising that he even reached the age of 39 before the illness finally took his life, after about 15 years of struggle. At this young age, Chopin had composed an amazing amount of works from a wide range of piano genres.

 

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In 1836, at a party hosted by Countess Marie d’Agoult, the mistress of fellow-composer Franz Liszt, Chopin was introduced to George Sand, who had been granted a divorce one year earlier from a marriage of convenience. She fell in love with him and offered to become his mistress. Chopin, however, did not find her attractive at first. “Something about her repels me”, he told his family. But George Sand had strong feelings for Chopin and pursued him until a relationship developed.

 

Chopin was already in poor health at the time, which is why he took his physician’s advice to leave Paris and go for a milder climate during the winter, in the Mediterranean. 

 

In the autumn of 1838, Chopin set off with George Sand and her two children, to spend the winter on the island of Mallorca. They arrived on November 8th, 1838, in Palma de Mallorca by boat from Barcelona. They rented a simple villa and were apparently quite happy. On November 15th, Chopin wrote a letter to a friend, saying “I am in Palma (…) I am close to that which is most beautiful”.

 

When the sunny weather broke, however, Chopin became ill. On December 3rd, Chopin wrote a letter to the same friend, saying “I have been ill for the last two days like a dog”.

 

When rumours of Chopin’s suspected tuberculosis reached the villa owner, they were ordered out and could only find accommodations in the Real Cartuja de Valldemossa (Real meaning Royal), a Carthusian monastery from 1399 until 1835, but now defunct, in the then rather remote village of Valldemossa. They stayed there from December 28th, 1838, to February 11th, 1839, when they left Valldemossa, Chopin being seriously ill.

 

He had been ill-advised to come to Mallorca. Even though temperatures here rarely drop very low, there is a sometimes quite unpleasant humidity in the air in Mallorca, rain or no rain, which can be uncomfortable and extremely damp in the winter. Not so healthy for someone with a tuberculum problem. Anyway, the hapless party left the island on February 13th, by boat from Palma de Mallorca, heading for Barcelona on their way back to Genoa and, eventually, France.

 

Although his health improved, Chopin never completely recovered from this bout. He complained, with his habitual wit, about the incompetence of the medicos in Mallorca: “The first (doctor) said I was going to die; the second said I had breathed my last; and the third said I was already dead”.

 

Chopin convalesced during the summer of 1839, in Nohant, George Sand’s manor house, 300 km from Paris.

 

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In 1845, as a further deterioration occurred in Chopin’s health, a serious problem also emerged in his relations with George Sand. The affair was further soured in 1846 by problems involving Sand’s daughter Solange. This was the year when Sand published her book Lucrezia Floriani, whose two main characters – a rich actress and a prince in frail health – might be interpreted as Sand and Chopin; the story was in fact somewhat derogatory to the composer. In 1847 the family problems finally brought the relations between the two to an end, which had lasted for ten years. Chopin died later that same year.

 

Although Mallorca has treated its guests, Chopin and spouse, not in a very commendable way, as one can easily read in George Sand’s travel memoirs of A Winter in Mallorca, published in 1842, Mallorca has since made the most of the couple’s stay in Valldemossa. One could quite rightly say, that Mallorca’s most famous tourist attraction, after Palma’s Cathedral, for those visitors that do not come only for sun, sea, sex and sangria, is Chopin and Sand’s legendary 45 days stay at the Carthusian monastery. Today, the Claustro houses a Chopin Museum, mainly for the purpose of celebrating the composer’s visit.

 

Two of the pianos that Chopin played in Mallorca are exhibited there, including the one which he had shipped over all the way from Paris.

 

During the tourist season, short piano recitals are offered to visitors at the Valldemossa Cartuja, four times a day. A real treat, every time, even if only for a brief duration. In August every summer, Mallorca celebrates the annual Chopin Festival of Music, the Festivals Chopin de Valldemossa, with its 27th edition just concluded.

 

If you ever have a chance, come for yourself one day and see how Mallorca treats you.

Salvador Dalí: Artist, Genius or Crook?

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Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was an important Catalán painter who is best known for his surrealist work.

 

Dalí was born in 1904 in Figueres, in Catalunya, Spain, where he received formal art training from an early age. He had his first public exhibition at the age of 15. That is no mean feast considering that we are talking 1919 here, the year after the end of World War I. At the age of 18, Dalí moved to Madrid, Spain’s Capital, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. Already then, Dalí drew attention to his personæ, wearing long hair, sideburns, coat, stockings and knee breeches.

In Madrid, he experimented with Cubism at a time when there were no Cubists as yet in Spain, and with Dadaism, a movement that influenced his career throughout his life. He became friends with the poet, Federico García Lorca, and with the film maker, Luis Bunuel, with whom he would later collaborate on the film Un chien Andalou.

In 1926, Dalí was expelled from the Art Academy in Madrid shortly before his final exams. He had dared to express his verdict that no one at the faculty was competent enough to examine him. With hindsight, one might think that he was probably right.

1926 also saw Dalí’s first trip to Paris where he met Pablo Picasso, whom he revered as a young man, though not in later years. In 1929, Dalí met his muse and future wife, Gala, a Russian immigrant eleven years his senior. They were married in 1934.

Dalí encountered conflict over political beliefs once Francisco Franco came to power. As a consequence he was expelled from the Surrealist group, to which his response was ‘Surrealism is me’.

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As World War II started in Europe, Dalí and Gala moved to the United States of A. in 1940, where they stayed for eight years. Dalí’s work during that period combines excellent draftmanship and great painterly skills with surreal, dreamlike images. There is no doubt that Dalí’s œuvre deserves recognition and respect, certainly during the early, his prime years.

It appears that he lost his artistic clout when he returned to Europe and to the Spain of Franco, a move for which he was politically criticized. Instead of being acclaimed as a great artist, he was considered controversial. He then entered a period that might be called his ‘theatrical’ phase which was one of his most unique periods. In 1960 he started work on the Teatro-Museo Dalí in his home town of Figueres, near Girona. If you would ever manage a visit there, you might possibly agree that some of the ideas and arrangements, compositions and visions there have a streak of genius. Opening hours now are 9h30 to 18h00; from November and during winter they are 10h30 to 18h00. Admission is 10 €.

There are accusations against his caretakers for supposedly having forced Dalí in his final years to sign blank sheets of paper that would later (postmortem) be printed upon and sold as originals. Other critics claim that a sane and sound Dalí was not coerced or fooled, but instead was part and scheming parcel of this deceit. They call him bluntly but convinced, a crook.

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I would rather draw the following conclusion:

 

I definitely recommend a visit to the Dalí museum in Figueres (Teatro-Museo Dalí). I also recommend visits to the Púbol castle which he had bought for his wife, Gala and which was the place of her death (Casa-Museo Castillo Gala Dalí de Púbol), as well as to the museum in Cadaqués (Casa-Museo Salvador Dalí) which is housed in his parents’ Summer residence. Opening hours in Púbol are 10h00 to 18h00; from November until the end of the year they are 10h00 to 17h00. Admission is 6 €. Opening hours in Cadaqués are 10h30 to 18h00 from now until January 6th. Admission is 10 €. Before you go to Cadaqués, you must telephone for a reservation: (+34)972.252.015. All three places are within easy reach to one another, and are about an hour’s drive from Barcelona.

If you have a chance to see a major museum show of his early and Surrealist work, go. If and when in London, UK, you can see some good Dalí at the Tate Modern. When in New York, USA, see some excellent Dalí at the Museum of Modern Art. When in Spain, see some early Dalí at the MNCARS Reina Sofía in Madrid. In Mallorca, we have one fine Dalí at the Fundación Juan March (Museu d’Art Espanyol Contemporani), dating from 1946 (see above). For other locations, simply consult the Internet.

 

The L. A. County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California, USA, will hold an exhibition called Dalí: Painting & Film, from October 14th until January 2008. Admission will be $17 ($20 on weekends), but entry is free after 17h00. Could be quite interesting.

 

Avoid any of Dalí’s later work, post-1955, and in particular, any work on paper. Original gouaches or drawings on paper are in the hands of established institutions, and the remainder is of minor importance, or is more likely to be a blunt fake.

Spare yourself some serious disappointment.

 

The Amazing Senyor Llull

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I was musing about dinosaurs yesterday in a metaphorical way.

Well, there is another metaphorical dinosaur today: Ramón Llull. He is long since dead, but his thoughts are still very influential in many of our ways of thinking, not least of which, in the way we use computers and the Internet.

Ramón Llull (Raimundus Lullus) is without doubt a most important 13th Century Catalán philosopher and mystic as well as the first writer to ever write books in the Catalán language. Some argue that Senyor Llull should be considered the greatest man ever born in Mallorca.

As I do live in Mallora, Spain, and have been for 20 years now, I must declare myself partial to this man.

Llull was born in Palma de Mallorca at the time of the Reconquista. Jaume I, King of the newly united Aragón and Catalunya, had just conquered the Balearic Islands in 1229, ending 300 years of rule of the Moors. However, it took about another 3 years until the last of the Arab resistance was crushed on the island.

Llull was brought up at the Royal Court of Mallorca. He learnt Arabic from the Moorish population that still remained after their defeat. He was well educated, and became the tutor of Jaume II of Aragon. Llull wrote in Latin, Catalán and Arabic.

In 1265, aged 32, he had a religious epiphany, and became a Franciscan monk. In 1273, he founded a Franciscan missionary school in Miramar, near Deià, Mallora, which today is a museum for Ramón Llull, as well as for the Archeduque Luis Salvador. Miramar is well worthy of your visit. Talk to the gardener there if you have a chance.

Llull’s first major work ‘Art Abreujada d’Atrobar Veritat’ (The Art of Finding Truth) was written in Catalán and then translated into Latin. He wrote treatises on alchemy and botany, ‘Ars Magna’, and ‘Llibre de Meravelles’. He wrote a romantic novel, ‘Blanquerna’, the first major work of literature written in Catalán, and thought to be the first European novel ever.

 

All this happened some 350 years before Cervantes or Shakespeare, and 30 years before Dante Alighieri’s ‘Divine Comedy’.

 

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Llull pressed for the study of the Arabic language in Spain, then insufficiently studied here, for the purpose of the conversion of Muslims to Christianity.

About 1272, after another mystical experience on Mallorca’s Randa mountain in which Ramón Llull related seeing the whole universe reflecting the divine attributes, he conceived of reducing all knowledge to first principles and determining their common point of unity.

Ramón Llull designed a method, which he first published in full in his ‘Ars Generalis Ultima’ or ‘Ars Magna’, of combining attributes selected from a number of lists. He also invented numerous devices for the purpose, each of which consisted of two or more cardboard discs inscribed with alphabet letters or numbers that referred to lists of attributes. These discs could be rotated individually to generate a large number of combinations of ideas. This method was an early attempt to use logical means to produce knowledge.

 

Some computer gurus have adopted Llull as a sort of founding father, claiming that his system of logic was the true beginning of Computation Theory.

Llull hoped to show that Christian doctrines could be obtained artificially from a fixed set of preliminary ideas. For example, one of the tables listed the attributes of God: goodness, greatness, eternity, power, wisdom, virtue, truth and glory.

Llull knew that all believers in the monotheistic religions – whether Jews, Muslims or Christians – would agree with these attributes, giving him a firm platform from which to argue.

 

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In 1285, Ramón Llull visited Rome and from there embarked on a mission to convert the infidels of Tunis to Christianity. He was violently expelled from Tunis, in an incident which was wrongly magnified by some later historians into a stoning to death, and therefore a martyrdom. On his return, Llull began to preach for a unification of the three monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – which, together, he hoped, would be able to defeat the Asian invaders then threatening Europe and the Middle East.

Llull reduced Christianity to rational discussion, thereby attempting to prove the dogmas of the Church by logical argument. But in 1376, Pope Gregorio XI charged Llull with confusing faith with reason and condemned his teachings. The Roman Catholic church did, however, pardon Ramón Llull more quickly than they did Galileo Galilei, venerating Llull during the 19th century.

In all, Ramón Llull is said to have written over 265 books and treaties, making him the most prolific Catalán author ever. Another 135 works are doubtfully or spuriously attributed to him.

The amazing Senyor Llull has a statue in his honour in Palma de Mallorca, just as one turns right from the Paseo Sagrera towards Plaza Reina and the Borne.

 

I salute him every time I drive past.