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Un mundo (A World)

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  • Date: 
    1929 (Valladolid)
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    290 x 310 cm
  • Category: 
    Painting
  • Entry date: 
    1997
  • Register number: 
    AD00038
  • On display in:
Ángeles Santos herself admitted that Un mundo (A World) was inspired by a Juan Ramón Jiménez poem: “[...] Vague mauve angels / were putting out the green stars / A calm ribbon / of soft violets / lovingly embraced / the pale Earth.” The huge oil painting measuring three metres by three metres (the painter had to join two canvases together to achieve the desired surface area) caused a sensation among the intellectual media of the time, particularly considering that the artist was a young woman living in the provinces, too far from the capital’s cultural scene to have come across any of the advances of the new art movements. After seeing the enormous work at the Autumn Salon of Madrid in 1929, Ramón Gómez de la Serna, Jorge Guillén, García Lorca, and Juan Ramón Jiménez himself wrote to Ángeles Santos and went to Valladolid to meet the new artist in person.
Un mundo is halfway between the proposals of Surrealism and the poetics of Magic Realism, a movement that had been spread through the essay of the same name by Franz Roh in 1925. The female characters in the scene surround a globe that has changed from its original form into a cube. In a silent procession, large-headed women are lighting the stars with fire taken from the sun, while in a corner of the painting, another group of women play musical instruments.

Paloma Esteban Leal

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