Home Magazine Los Caprichos; Where Still Life and Contemporary Art are made for each other

"LOS CAPRICHOS". An exhibition of still life with great representatives of the most contemporary artworks.

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Est_art Space presents “Los Caprichos”, an exhibition that is taking place from the 10th to the 18th of April in Madrid. The exhibition aims to take back an almost-forgotten genre. The combination of still-life and contemporary art is showcased under a very unique style from 26 different artists.  

Still-life painting in Spain has a rich and diverse history that spans several centuries, evolving in style and significance over time. Known as "bodegón" in Spanish, this genre emerged in the early 17th century during the Baroque period and gained popularity throughout the Golden Age of Spanish art.

Initially, still-life paintings in Spain primarily depicted arrangements of food, kitchen tools, and tableware, often with a symbolic undertone. Artists such as Juan Sánchez Cotán and Francisco de Zurbarán were notable pioneers of this style, creating meticulously detailed compositions that emphasized realism and texture.

In the 19th century, still-life painting in Spain experienced a revival with the rise of Romanticism and the emergence of new artistic movements. Artists like Antonio López García and María Blanchard explored innovative approaches to the genre, experimenting with light, color, and form to convey mood and emotion.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, Spanish artists continued to push the boundaries of still-life painting, embracing diverse styles and techniques. Contemporary artists such as Antonio López García and Rafael Canogar have reinterpreted the genre, infusing it with new perspectives and concepts while retaining its fundamental focus on capturing the beauty and essence of everyday objects.

“El limonero (2024)” By Carlos Álvarez Las Hieras. Courtesy of Est_Art 

In this exhibition, of all the artists who worked in the genre, Est_Art Space aims to highlight Goya, who stands out prominently for his exceptional mastery and innovative approach to the genre during the 19th century.

During his later years, he infused the genre with a wholly innovative and unprecedented character, evoking sensations of violence, death, and sacrifice. Employing brushes, palette knives, and even his fingers, he blended dense impasto with lighter glazes, creating contrasts between flashing, iridescent transparencies, and desolate, dreary emptiness.

In his celebrated series "Los Caprichos," Goya embodies a world in turmoil and foreshadows the emerging modern sensibility, heralding a shift towards an art characterized by subjectivity and creative liberty. Objects serve as potent symbols, reflecting our longings and memories, transforming desires and dreams into personal sanctuaries to our innermost selves. Respected thinkers of our time have ascribed objects that resonate with our subconscious. The invitation extended to artists is to rejuvenate the neglected still-life tradition and reimagine it through a modern prism, engaging with today's audience.

“Tostada campeones de la noche” By Mico Rabuñal. Courtesy of Est_Art 

Still-life painting remains a vibrant and relevant genre in Spanish art, celebrated for its ability to evoke nostalgia, provoke contemplation, and celebrate the ordinary moments of life. Through the works of esteemed contemporary artists, the fusion of modern artistry and still-life painting showcases the awe-inspiring brilliance of both the artists and the genre itself.

From traditional compositions to avant-garde interpretations, the legacy of bodegón continues to inspire artists and captivate audiences around the world.

Cover Image: “Bunny mincemeat with carrots - Still Life” By Miguel Ángel Fúnez. Courtesy of Est_Art 

Written by Angela Violano

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