Portraits I haven’t been asked for. Pilar Merino Bravo

Portraits I haven’t been asked for. Pilar Merino Bravo

Opening Thursday 13 June 20.00 h

This exhibition gathers different portraits, made at different times.

None of them are regular portraits.

None of them have been entrusted to me. So it is not subject to seeing-if-something-handsome, nor is he subject to the cover-with-the-hair-the-blown-ears.

The chosen ones are people for whom I felt or feel a great and deep affection or unknown that for some cause have impacted me.

I was 7. . . 8 years old. I was visiting the Prado Museum with my father, a professional guide. He told me there were a lot of paintings there. So many that didn’t fit in the walls and were stored in the basements. He went on to explain to me that the Museum had to be visited on different days without haste. That we had to choose a room or a painter, see what was chosen and leave for other days to continue and enjoy the visit.
Never get tired.

He warned me that on that day we were going to see only two paintings, two paintings in front of which he always detained the clients he accompanied.

They were “The adoration of the shepherds” of a then practically unknown and at that time absolutely undervalued JUAN BAUTISTA MAÍNO (1581/1649) and the titled “the semi-sunken dog” of GOYA; before which the groups of tourists usually gallop after or before having stopped before “los fusilamientos de la Moncloa”.

I was impressed by the dog and the lamb at the end of the canvas, something logical if we take into account the height corresponding to my age, compared to a canvas of more than three meters. From the second, the confusion that a painting with only a couple of colors with such a simple graphics and so few details caused me.

I did not know then that in high school I would opt for science instead of letters, that I would study Fine Arts, that I would obtain an honors degree in drawing, that I would exhibit in several cities both in group and individual exhibitions, that I would be a finalist of the BMW Prize in several years until something happened that made Queen Sofia reject the Presidency of Honor and caused the resignation of the then German ambassador, that I didn’t win the first prize of Solar Painting of Samaniego because the representative of the winery that presided over the Jury couldn’t with his vote make the prize go to a painting in which the “portrayed” was drinking a liter of beer and that was the title of the painting, (which I understand perfectly) that would travel to Rome and the USA, that would have work in private collections as well as corporations, national and foreign. Nor did he know that a critic of recognized prestige (sin is said but not the sinner) would say:

“Her painting -open to all kinds of possibilities- and clearly connected with the time in which we live hides, behind his sought-after chromatic sobriety, the tension, bitterness, anxiety, hope and disenchantment of a confused and tense society that looks like a security lost a long time ago and that seeks, knowing that it is impossible to achieve it, a new and unknown happiness. Intelligent painting…
…City painting, without open spaces, with strident noises and unsearched solitudes. Painting of convulsive rhythms, resulting from a wounded and critical sensitivity that, nevertheless, loves life…
…Painting full of risks. Passionate and lively painting that reaches, sometimes, the difficult beauty of all that is done with love.”

Already graduated in Fine Arts and survivor in this wonderful profession I have accompanied many friends, family, colleagues (myself on occasions) in repeated visits to that wonderful Museum and I have continued stopping in a morose contemplation of those two works of art to which I have added a square also of the sublime GOYA. It is a self-portrait made between 1795 and 1797 (Oil on canvas 18 x 12. 2 cm).

In my last visit October 2018 I thought that neither the MAIN canvas dog nor the lamb, nor the GOYA dog asked to be portrayed to the author. Probably the self-portrait of the fabulous Aragonese was a request from the Duchess of Alba but it is not a portrait of her.

Pilar Merino Bravo