Just Merveilleux?

Life at № 42

The Zurbarán Nearby

I recently discovered that the Zurbarán above lives just 20 minutes away from number 42. It’s at the former Episcopal Palace in Castres (now a museum.) A very nice building of strong Palladian influence which I like for no particular reason 😀

Related image

Anyway, back to the painting. It depicts Alvar, one of the brothers in the epic poem Cantar of the Seven Infants of Lara. They lived in the tenth century, and the poem tells the story of how seven brothers were betrayed by their uncle and slain by the Moors; but were later avenged by their half-brother, Bastard Mudarra, son of the Lord of Lara and a Moorish woman.

Zurbarán is just exceptional. The painting is alive. The faces on the helmet, chest plate and knee covers have an almost trompe-l’œil effect. It’s by far my favourite thing in the museum- which is actually a gem. I had no idea there was such a great little collection in this area.  Apparently the best collection of Spanish art in France after the Louvre.

 

 

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17 comments on “The Zurbarán Nearby

  1. Steve Ruis
    July 2, 2017

    Isn’t it amazing that war and the imaginary world of gods and fairies inspires such outpourings of artistic expression. Since art seems to be a form of emotional communication, I guess this is not surprising.

    Thanks for sharing your neighborhood. (Mine isn’t so well-endowed. ;o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 2, 2017

      Don’t you live in Chicago? You’ve got THE ART INSTITUTE! That’s one of my favourite’s in the world 🙂

      Like

  2. Steve Ruis
    July 2, 2017

    Yeah, but is not in my neighborhood! This city is full of wondrous architecture, including many of the grave yards. And, I have Lake Michigan in my back yard. And … I like to see exotic things from far away and dream … so, on occasion, I miss things right under my feet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tish Farrell
    July 2, 2017

    Astounding work all round, but especially the trompe ‘oeil effect. It’s wonderful when you find treasures on your doorstep. I always think France, as a nation, is rather good at this – e.g. somewhere in Brittany I once came upon a Neolithic chamber tomb under the village church, and also an amazingly preserved medieval ‘danse macabre’ fresco all around the interior of another. And in Nice a 400,000 year hunter gatherer site preserved in the basement of an apartment block (Terra Amata) – it’s all rather cool they way the past comes along to mingle with the here and now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 2, 2017

      In the second half of the 20th century France also becomes good at forcing the big institutions to lend out pieces to the smaller provincial ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Arkenaten
    July 2, 2017

    Beautiful indeed. Never saw this on my couple of visits. In fact one of the few things I do remember about Castres was a record shop where I bought the Stones Album Exile on Main Street.
    Well … I was 13!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 2, 2017

      Do you remember the river houses? They’re just gorgeous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arkenaten
        July 2, 2017

        No, Sorry. I stayed with a family called Anglard who lived in a new house/- (new then) bungalow on an acre plot on the outskirts of Labrugiere. We went to Castres only about four times, if memory serves, for shopping and whatnot on the weekends.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. coteetcampagne
    July 2, 2017

    Yes, whilst the French are proud of their historical sites and museums, they can be almost casual about the old stuff.
    We live in a village with Visigoth remains, a Roman bridge and Knights Templar preceptory and the locals are so cool about these things

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dpmonahan
    July 2, 2017

    A few years ago the Met had an exhibit called “French taste in Spanish Art”. Was it Louis Phillipe that had a Spanish wife? I wish I could say it was good exhibit, mostly religious kitsch with some JS Sargent thrown in for no particular reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 2, 2017

      Technically the last Spanish wife of a French ruler was Napoleon III’s Eugenie de Montijo. That would fit in with kitsch, as it wasn’t the best period for religious art. Especially considering what the standards had been in the 18th century and back.

      Like

  7. Helen Devries
    July 2, 2017

    Superb to find that almost on your doorstep. I had a look at the collection from the website and am sorry that I missed visiting when we were in the area some years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 2, 2017

      I loved it. It’s reasonably small, so you can see the entire collection in two to three hours.

      Like

  8. Bela Johnson
    July 3, 2017

    Oooh, cool. I like. Love the faces – bet it ‘s stunning close up.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. acflory
    July 3, 2017

    Amazing. I had to really peer at the chestplate before I was sure I wasn’t imagining things. Is there some explanation for the inclusion of the faces? I mean, was it common for soldiers to have things like that one their armour or is there some other significance to it??

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 3, 2017

      The literature says it’s purely theatre and based on a previous work by Lucas de Leyde 🙂

      Like

      • acflory
        July 3, 2017

        lol – I think I’m almost disappointed. Was kind of hoping this was a clue ot some arcane society or other. You know, like the Knights Templar. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 2, 2017 by in Mazamet and tagged , , , , , .
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