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MAXAM Foundation - Calendar of the year - 1963

Francisco Ribera Gómez
Girl with a copper pan
                                                                                                                              Oil / canvas    
80 x 64 cm                                                                                              

Francisco Ribera is the author with the greatest number of appearances within the MAXAM Collection. On over thirteen occasions he was responsible for the image featured in the celebrated annual Calendar (1947-48, 1950-51, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1962-63, 1968, 1975-77). His style is an absolute manifestation of what was, over the course of many decades, the very expression of the traditional folk taste (as in the style with the greatest number of admirers and followers) in Spain. These artworks are now icons of a certain period in the history of the country, and prints of Ribera’s oeuvre can still be found framed and hanging in many corners of Spain. Although no one is quite sure if they continue to be displayed as an ethnographic tribute to this moment in our common culture, as a kitsch throwback to a bygone era, or because they are yet another variation on the theme of bullfighters and flamenco dancers so commonly evoked as representatives of all things “Spanish”.

Ribera’s work is one of the key elements that so enhance the MAXAM Collection, given that these artworks reflect that “other part” of Spanish Art History. They don’t fall within the coordinates of the vanguard trends of the first four decades of the XXth century. The artists’ names have not become a cultural brand beyond the realm of their artworks; they have not received the critical and academic attention that has directed such dedicated study and scientific analysis to other painters and groups of artists that have risen since 1950.

The influence of Julio Romero de Torres is clearly seen in this selection from the MAXAM Collection. A mentor to Francisco Ribera at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Romero de Torres transmitted his particular interest in portraying women with a particular racial aspect, and with special flare, a certain provocative sexuality which forces the spectator to take a clear stance upon viewing the artwork. ¿Should we be conventional, and say simply that we like or dislike the painting? ¿Or does ‘Girl with a Copper Pan’ inspire something else within us?

It has been suggested that the woman depicted in the painting is a rendering of the character of Adela in Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba. This young woman defies the maternal tyranny and the established moral norms with her vitality, showing herself much as all people who view this calendar might well imagine her, against the iron rails of her window as Pepe the Roman –her sister Martina’s disappointed suitor– passes by. Francisco Ribera’s delicate brushstrokes perfectly capture the essence of this character, conveying with oil on canvas the ideas established by the genius playwright from Granada: “Theater is poetry that rises from the book and takes human form. As it does so, it speaks, shouts, cries, feels despair. The theatre needs its characters to appear on the stage wearing clothes made of poetry, while at the same time showing their bones and blood”.


Last update 2020.09.21
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