Ellos también dan tierra al campesino (They Also Give Land to the Peasants)

Antonio Rodríguez Luna

Montoro, Cordoba, Spain, 1910 - 1985
  • Series: 
    Dieciséis dibujos de guerra (Sixteen War Drawings)
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Indian ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    31,6 x 48 cm
  • Category: 
    Work on paper, Drawing
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Antonio Rodríguez Luna was one of the most skilled followers of Spanish Surrealism. During the Civil War years, his discoveries and research in this context would result in a special brand of Realism populated by symbols. Sometimes scenes were closely related to the dreamlike visions advocated by the followers of André Breton. Among the most significant works produced by Rodríguez Luna during the war years, two groups of pieces are especially noteworthy: the drawings grouped under the title Emisarios del pasado (Emissaries of the Past) and, above all, the scenes contained in the album Dieciséis dibujos de guerra (Sixteen War Drawings). Ellos también dan tierra al campesino (They Also Give Land to the Peasants, 1937) is part of the latter group. Like the other compositions of this type, it is characterised by a baroque style and very painstakingly, laborious execution, undoubtedly due to its final form as a graphic work. Valeriano Bozal analyses the heavy, dramatic content of these drawings, describing them as “apocalyptic”: “The putrefaction, the agony of the objects, the exaggerated violence, the paroxysm, the destruction and the sadism, the taunting, the sarcasm, the murk, and above all, the horrific impotence of the figures who inhabit this atmosphere (and this ‘inhabiting’ is something more than merely moving about or simply being, it means that they possess the same characteristics, belong to the same environment which, as another of its elements, they help create ... and of which they are victims).” The Dieciséis dibujos de guerra album depicts, among other things, bloody scenes of firing squads in Malaga and Almeria and the Badajoz bullring. It was made by photogravure in Valencia, in the studio of Estanislao Vilaseca, and printed on recycled paper, with a run of 300 folders. In its final format as a book, the drawings were included in the publications section of the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition, 1937.

Paloma Esteban Leal