Fall 2008

Arts of Spain, From the Siglo de Oro to Saura

Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-18


Natasha Staller (Section 01)


We begin with Goya, from royal commissions to the harrowing “pinturas negras”. Other artists to be considered include Casas, Rusinyol, Gaudí, Picasso, Miró, Tapiés, Almodóvar and Saura. Although the primary focus will be visual arts (painting, prints, architecture, film) we will consider poetry (García Lorca), music and dance (zarzuelas, flamenco) and religious rituals. We will address the diversity of Spain’s political, linguistic and cultural centers, and consider how this complicates any discussion of nationalism or a Spanish “mentality.” We will address the importance of concepts like machismo and duende, the legacy of literary themes and characters (La Celestina, Don Quijote), as well as the “anxiety of influence” toward Golden Age giants like Velázquez and Zurbarán. Our period was marked by conflict: an empire lost, the defeat by Napoleon, civil war. Holy wars, anti-clerical insurrections, economic vicissitudes, all came into play as did battles waged in nature’s realm, the cosmic order. We close with the artistic efflorescence of Spain’s nascent democracy. We will have a field trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which holds the most extensive collection of Goya works on paper outside of the Prado. Fall semester. Professor Staller.