Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Escalating focus on modern art

Above: Escalators in the Pablo Serrano Instituto Aragones de Arte y Cultura Contemporaneous

Science and humanism must be an embrace and not a wall that separates reason and feeling.”

Pablo Serrano (1908-1985)

Born in Crivillen in Teruel, a province of Aragon Spain, Pablo Serrano must have felt his calling toward art at a young age. When he was 14 years old, he left home to begin eight years of study in sculpture in Barcelona. At age 22, he packed his bags and moved to Montevideo, Uruguay.

Despite his distance from Spain, the abstract sculptor’s influence rose as a major force in the Spanish avant-garde movement. Known as an expressionist, he interjected his subjective perspective in his work instead of feeling compelled to accurately replicate nature or his subjects. Serrano returned to Spain in 1957, continuing to exhibit internationally and often working on major public art commissions, including a sculpture of King Juan Carlos of Spain unfinished at the time of his death.

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Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Glowing glass floats honor La Senora del Pilar

Above: Thirty-thousand pieces of glass were cut and assembled to create a 14-foot-long illuminated reproduction of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar carried through the streets of Zaragoza every October 13th.

An annual 10-day fiesta honors Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza. Music, food trucks, clowns, carnival rides, folk dancing and lively parades of Gigantes y Cabezudos (larger than life-size paper-mache figures) fill the calendar. And, of course, fireworks.

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Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Renaissance landmark rescued from Paris

Above: Contemporary painting depicting Patio de la Infante (by Jacqueline Treloar?)

“Courtyard of the Princess,” F.J. Parceriso, lithograph, circa 1850

On the edge of the former Jewish Quarter in Zaragoza, Micer Gabriel Zaporta (abt 1500-1580) built an 18,000-square-foot house in 1549 in honor of his second wife. Zaporta himself was born into a Jewish family whose members converted to Catholicism in compliance with the Edicts of 1492 and enforced by the Inquisition. The elegant house built around a central courtyard with elaborate Italianate ornamentation reflected Zaporta’s success as a merchant and a banker who served as treasurer to King Charles I of Spain (1500-1558).

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