Artists, Expressionism, Painters, Surrealism

A World by Ángeles Santos

Ángeles Santos was a painter born in Portbou, Spain. Her style evolved from Surrealism and expressionism to post-impressionism. In 2005, she received the Cross of St. George (Creu de Sant Jordi).

A World

It is probably my favourite painting of this artist. It’s property of the permanent collection of Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. It is a huge oil, (290 x 310cm), that represents a surrealist planet.

Photo credit: Museo Reina Sofía

The planet hasn’t the form of a globe as expected, but of a cube and it’s surrounded by female characters with long hair that are floating around it and lighting the stars with the light of the moon, they seem to be part of a procession.

In the corner, there is a small group of women with large head and hairless; two of them are playing musical instruments (a harp and a flute). This group seems to be formed by mothers and daughters, for the different sizes of them.

The painting is halfway between the Surrealism and the Magic Realism. Anyway, is very lyrical and its big size can make the viewer feel as part of it and its strange world.

Santos admitted that this painting was inspired by a poem of Juan Ramón Jiménez called Alba, to be exactly by the verses:

 […] Vague mauve angels / were putting out the green stars / A calm ribbon / of soft violets / lovingly embraced / the pale Earth.”

A World caused a sensation among the intellectuals of the time, specially because it was a work by a young woman (she was only 18 years old) that lived far from the cultural scene of the capital, she lived in Valladolid.

Presenting this painting in the IX Salón de Otoño de Madrid in 1929 increases her fame, because after this event she had her name and work quoted in many articles written by some of the most celebrated intellectuals of the time as Federico García Lorca, Ramón Gómez de la Serna or Juan Ramón Jiménez. Some of them travelled to Valladolid to met her in person.

Here is the whole poem of Juan Ramón Jiménez, it’s in Spanish. I couldn’t find the translation to English (sorry!):

Se paraba
la rueda
de la noche…
                            Vagos ángeles malvas
apagaban las verdes estrellas.Una cinta tranquila
de suaves violetas
abrazaba amorosa
a la pálida tierra. 
Suspiraban las flores al salir de su ensueño,
embriagando el rocío de esencias.

Y en la fresca orilla de helechos rosados,
como dos almas perlas,
descansaban dormidas
nuestras dos inocencias
—¡oh que abrazo tan blanco y tan puro!—
de retorno a las tierras eternas.



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