Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Joanna the Mad

One a the great European history paintings is "Juana the Mad holding vigil over the coffin of her husband, Philip the Handsome" by the Spanish artist Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz (1848-1921).

There is no bright spanish sun or happy dancing and wine drinking people. It's a hard cold land. And there's this queen, pregnant and half-mad, beside her broken dreams.

I think the painting could only be understand by a look on the situation in Spain in the time of its creation. It was painted 1878 few years after the miserable end of the First Spanish Republic. Spain fought internal wars againts the Carlist insurrectors, and outside in Cuba, where it defended the small rest of the once so spledid empire.

So there was no time for optimism or happiness. To remain standing and to endure was the best to hope for.

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