Great Masters Near The Plaza
I can't say enjoying the Renaissance Masters- was what I was expecting when we came to Santa Fe, New Mexico on a weekend jaunt. But there they stood, many of the artist and painting I had studied at art school- en plein air- in the side courtyard of St. Francis Cathedral, just a block up from the plaza.
Click on close up of paintings to read more, via Wikipedia, about the artist and their paintings residing at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. How this impromptu outside gallery got to Santa Fe is a story in itself and can be read about Here , Santa Fe being the only American venue, here until end of October.
The great painting were printed on weather resistant metal displays, well weighted down with sand bags, though Santa Fe's balmy summer time weather is pretty consistant.
No surprise, many religious painting stood respectable next to the grand catherdral, such an icon of the region's religous history.
But there were many painting, one would not expect to find in the courtyard of a Catholic church.... unless you have studied Art History and especially the relationship between the Church and Art, the Church and countries like Spain, the role of the Church during the Renaissance or the Spanish Inquisition
Breugel was an illustrator before his time, a master story teller!
One could look at The Triumph of Death for quite awhile and still find something new if not somewhat disturbing..
One of my favorite all time painting of his is FIGHT BETWEEN CARNIVAL AND LENT , click on title if you wish to peruse another painting of Bruegel the Elder.
I did think that if we had come when the girls were young, I would have to of determined age appropriateness and probably sneak over to the courtyard while Jon provided diversion.... there were quite a few fleshly bodies shining in the New Mexican sun.
But the exhibit had so many of the great paintings I studied in school. Gazing upon them, I had flashbacks of exams I took, blurried eyed after a night of studying all the art work the professor had lectured on, to now being tested on a selected few, each slide up on the screen with five minutes to write everything we could remembered about.....
Can still remember the format... label it, declare the artist, medium, the year painted and as much pertinent description of its value to Art History as I could B***SH** in the time alotted.
Of course phrase like "wonderful lines " or "strong composition" were always benifial to pepper here and there.
Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son was there, in the courtyard. I hated that painting in college and looking at it now, I still hate it, so didn't take a picture of it, but if your interested you can google it. Goya was a disturbed individual.
Though Santa Fe was hundreds of years away from being a place where art of the "Masters" or Anglo Europeans would reside. Other art has resided in the land of enchantment that would become New Mexico, for thousands of years...
And just like in Europe, Art evolved over decades, but here the skill was past down from parent to child, as it was created by the people of the Southwest...
As did the architecture like Taos Pueblo which has been occupied contentiously since the late 13th century....
In Europe, the 13th century would be the Middle Ages where many of the great Gothic cathedrals were being built, in southern part of the United states the great cultural of the Rio Grand Valley Pueblos grew, while the cultures of Mesa Verde or Chaco Canyon were on the decline.
In the center of the St. Francis Cathedral's courtyard is a monument to the first settlers of Santa Fe, that would be 300 years later in 1610, actually right at the end of the Renaissance period in Europe. Of course it refers to the first Anglo- Europeans, who were trying to claim land, riches and trade routes for Spain.
Seventy years after that under the guidance of Pope', not The Pope in Rome, but a leader amongst the many pueblos along the Rio Grand River who lead a well organized coup and kicked the foreigners out of Santa Fe in the Pueblo Revolt, read more HERE, again thanks to Wikipedia.
But eventually the Spanish did get established in Santa Fe and almost twenty years before Lewis and Clark went on their infamous exploration, Spain sent out priest to find trade routes to California from Old Mexico...to read more about the Spanish exploration of America go HERE
Eventually Santa Fe did establish itself as a major trade center, in all its eras... connected to Spain, connected to Mexico and when connected to the United States.
On our weekend jaunt we actually pretty much followed the lower red loop, backwards from the Four Corner through the San Luis Valley in Colorado, via Taos and then down to Santa Fe and then back home heading west toward Albuquerque and then back up into Colorado.
Of Course, today the question is when did the region get to be such an Art Center? Santa Fe is the focus of the 2017 Summer Edition of Art and Antiques, which I picked up After our jaunt. Inside it is declared that the little New Mexico town is fighting with LA for the #2 spot of Art locals only after New York City. Think a post on how it got there is coming...