I’ve taken a hard right turn in my reading during the past week, taking up a text assigned as summer reading for the Meadows Museum docent program. This book is a compact (only 231 pages) overview of the history of Spanish painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and architecture, starting with cave painting and ending in the 1980’s.
I can see why this book was chosen for us newbies. There’s a handy map of Spain to use for reference while reading, and, of course, it puts everything in historical order. I have gone to lectures and gallery talks at the museum during the past four years, but they were tied to the current special exhibition and necessarily skipped around in time.
Along with the familiar names: El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Picasso, Dali, and Miro, there are artists who are new to me. I look forward to further researching their work. There are many images in the book, but many are in black and white. There is a black and white reproduction of a still life painting by Juan Sanchez Cotan that caught my attention. A quince suspended on a string, a cabbage suspended on a different string, a cut melon and cucumber. Quite realistic, but different from the flamboyant still life paintings of the Dutch. I did a search to find it in color, and there’s an interesting commentary about it in the Khan Academy.
The Arts in Spain will now become a reference book on my shelves.