Sin título (Untitled)

Luis Quintanilla

Santander, Spain, 1893 - Madrid, Spain, 1978
  • Series: 
    Franco's Black Spain
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Ink with pen on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    43,5 x 33 cm
  • Category: 
    Work on paper, Drawing
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Franco’s Black Spain (1938) shares a subject with the other iconic group of works which Luis Quintanilla produced during the Spanish Civil War, the series known as Dibujos de la Guerra. 1937 (War Drawings. 1937). However, in the forty caricatures that make up Franco’s Black Spain, Quintanilla tackles the subjects in a different way. The delicate Intimism that tinged the painful scenes of the surrender of Santa María de la Cabeza Monastery in Jaén, for example, is transformed into a series which alludes to Spain under Franco with a savage denunciation of the general and his allies. There are clear similarities to the most brutally critical creations of Germans Georges Grosz and Otto Dix depicting the representatives of the power centres in their own country, in the context of German New Objectivity. In addition, in many of the figures in this series, it is possible to discern the influence of Francisco de Goya, an unquestionable point of reference, along with Pablo Picasso, to whom Quintanilla turns in his most dramatic scenes of war. According to Esther López Sobrado, scholar of Quintanilla’s work, the artist himself shows various groups as responsible for the degradation depicted in Franco’s Black Spain: the Moors, who the painter habitually shows sacking the population or raping the women; the Civil Guard, a force to which Quintanilla attributes torture and brutal beatings; Fascist landowners, always in conflict with the peasantry; and direct collaborators with Franco, the Falange, and generals Mola and Queipo de Llano, whom the artist does not spare from ridicule. This is not to mention another equally essential theme: the depiction of Italian fascists and followers of Nazism, to whom Quintanilla attributes a range of abuses. The drawing Sin título (Untitled, 1938) is of this last type – a figure with wicked features plays the central role in a scene of a sacking, carrying an enormous pig under his arm, on which we can make out an armband with a swastika.

Paloma Esteban Leal