Jose Benlliure y Gil Oil on Panel 1881
Fastnacht Day, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnivale, Pancake Day–whatever you call it, celebrate it today! How do you celebrate? Eat, drink, be merry! And don’t just eat, eat fatty, rich foods like fastnacht and paczki (doughnuts), pancakes, king cakes, or anything else you may not be able to eat starting tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
Today marks the last day of Shrovetide, the period before Lent. It is a time of self-examination for Christians. The general idea is self-reflection leads to repentance and the absolution of sins. It is a way to prepare for the somber season of lent. And by prepare, I mean eat alot.
Jose Benlliure y Gil is a Spanish painter of the late 19th and early 20th century. He is known for both his beautiful portraiture, as well as his work based on flowers and floral work. This painting is a lovely combination of both.
To me, this painting is somewhere between Pre-Raphaelite and Impressionist, and I love it. There’s so much happening with the flowers and the costumes and the banners. My favorite is the woman on the left in red lowering a basket of flowers from the balcony. Who is she lowering them to? Or is an admirer sending them up?
And I also like the child on the right. It looks like a young person has just tossed flowers and maybe pamphlets or flyers over the balcony. You can see blue papers or pieces of fabric and flowers floating down in front.
The cool tones of the palette, especially cerulean blue, contrast wonderfully against the warm grey walls. And the texture is just layer after layer. The blotchy walls, the fabric, the flowers. There is just great depth in this painting that I enjoy.
Please check out Museo CarmenThyssen Malaga for a description from the museum where it is housed.
I hope you have enjoyed your final day of Mardi Gras!