Cristobal Balenciaga once said that “a good fashion designer should be an architect for patterns, a sculptor for form, an artist for design, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for fit.” And it is not surprising that in the 20th century he ruled high fashion with innovative clothing inspired by unusually traditional Spanish sources. The Basque fashion designer took replicas from regional clothing, folk costumes, bullfights, flamenco dances, Catholicism and, of course, from the history of painting. And in the end, he created what conquered the world for centuries.
The Balenciaga collection is full of stocky silhouettes, stooped shoulders and neat trouser lines. But the fashion house today, under the leadership of Demna Gvasalia, represents a completely different aesthetic than what Cristobal himself did during his lifetime. “They cannot be compared,” explains Eloy Martinez de la Pera, curator of the new Balenciaga and Spanish Painting exhibition in Madrid, which combines ninety works of the Balenciaga couture with 56 masterpieces of Spanish painting that inspired the designer. “Balenciaga’s story ended when he stopped making clothes. His story was extremely personal, but today Balenciaga has a completely different story, and it is also worth telling. ” And in order to truly recognize Cristobal himself, it is important to know the key elements of Spanish art that shaped his aesthetic vision. Continue reading
Unknown portrait of Da Vinci’s brush: Did the great master really write “Princess Leonardo” and whom he portrayed
It may seem that the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci has many paintings – this artist, who died five hundred years ago, is mentioned too much and too often in the modern world. In fact, only one and a half dozen paintings by da Vinci and a few more works are known, whose belonging to Leonardo’s brush is only supposed. Therefore, any loss of the work of a great artist, as well as the sudden discovery of previously unknown, becomes a sensational event, affecting the history of fine art itself. Moreover, each such episode is reminiscent of a detective story, where there are victims, and criminals, and the hero revealing the secret, and most importantly – the priceless masterpiece of Leonardo.
How at the end of the 20th century another Renaissance masterpiece was discovered. Continue reading
Before the revolution, patronage of the arts was considered not only charitable, but also beneficial for the donor himself, and the point here was not taxes at all. According to the ideas of merchants in the old days, this activity avoided the terrible temptation – the power of money. Most often, wealthy industrialists became patrons of shelters, hospitals, and educational institutions. At first, the partners and competitors laughed at the Tretyakov brothers’ passion for painting, but time, of course, put everything in its place.
Pavel and Sergey Tretyakov were the eldest children in a well-known merchant family. This dynasty of industrialists has flourished since the 18th century, and for several generations from the retail of buttons, it has been able to grow to manufacturers – the family owned paper dyeing and finishing industries. I must say that, despite the huge investment in art, by the time of his death, the state of Pavel Tretyakov was estimated at 3.8 million rubles. Continue reading