Friday, September 30, 2011

Religious Fanatic

The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 (1889) by the Spanish painter Emilio Sala y Francés (1850-1910)

Several months after the fall of Granada an Edict of Expulsion was issued against the Jews of Spain by the so called Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It ordered all Jews of whatever age to leave the kingdom by the last day of July. The Jews offered then an immense ransom of 600,000 crowns for the revocation of the edict. When the monarchs were ready to accept, Torquemada, the grand inquisitor, dashed into the royal presence and, throwing a crucifix down before the king and queen, asked whether, like Judas, they would betray their Lord for money.
The Jews were expulsed from Spain with fatal consequences for the whole country.

Sala y Francés is depicting here the moment when the fanatic Torquemada is accusing the Jews. It’s one of the highlights of Spanish history painting illustrating one of the darkest moments of her history.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sugary Past

The First Thanksgiving (c1912) by the American painter Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930).

Ferris shows here a scenery very popular in American culture and iconography. In autumn of 1621 the surviving Pilgrims celebrated their successful harvest and invited the Indians who helped them before with food.

The scene is heavily romanticized. The Indians there didn’t wore feathers in their hair, but they look more "Indian" with that. And as savages that are sitting on the floor, which they wouldn’t have done. So it’s despite all the nice colorful details nothing authentic.