Saudi Aramco World July/Aug 2014 - page 7

July/August 2014
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FROM EVERY DIRECTION approaching Granada, in the Spanish region of Andalucía, the southernmost in Europe, you see it:
the walled fortress, palace and garden of the Alhambra, anchored to its promontory that dominates the city. With its back
to the high Sierra Nevada, it scatters at its feet a downtown urban scene of modern buildings interspersed with the remains
of history longer than a thousand years. To the north, the Cubist landscape of the Albayzin, or Moorish quarter, climbs an
opposite hill and faces the downtown from its sinuous labyrinth of streets that still seem to echo with ancient voices.
Historicist painters of the 19th century used the Alhambra as a symbol and a setting for events they rendered in epic visual style laden
with Romantic nostalgia.
Top:
“The Fall of Granada in 1492” by Carlos Luis Ribera y Fieve, 1890, and
(above)
“Boabdil’s family leaving the
Alhambra” by Manuel Gómez-Moreno González, 1883, both imagine the Catholic conquest and the resulting exile of the Nasrid sultan
and his family.
Right:
Recording many of the Alhambra’s designs with both a scientific and a Romantic eye, Welsh architect Owen Jones
in 1856 declared it “the very summit of perfection of Moorish art.”
Opposite:
In the early 1860’s, Hudson River School painter Samuel
Colman was among the first American artists to visit Spain. “The Hill of the Alhambra,” 1865, reflects the popular ideal that pictorial
beauty and grandeur stimulate the senses to higher awareness.
TOP AND ABOVE RIGHT (OWEN JONES): BRIDGEMAN IMAGES; ABOVE LEFT (GÓMEZ-MORENO): ALBUM / ART RESOURCE; OPPOSITE, TOP: METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART / ART RESOURCE; INSET: JOSÉ MIGUEL PUERTA VÍLCHEZ
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