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Type of Item
Central Panel of the Painted Cave of Gáldar
The Painted Cave of Gáldar is in northwest Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain. It is part of a complex of pre-Hispanic caves that were rediscovered in 1862. Full archaeological excavations took place in 1987−2005. The six caves are carved out of the tufa and arranged around a central space. The first occupation of the settlement dates from the sixth century, but radiocarbon dating suggests that the cave acquired its current appearance in the late 12th century. The cave system was created by the Guanches, the ...
Shown here are three views of what remains of a terracotta seated human figure in an accentuated stylized form. The figure was discovered in the Painted Cave site at Gáldar, northwest Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain, which lies about 100 kilometers west of Morocco. The cave complex was inhabited before the Castilian conquest of the Canaries in the 15th century by an indigenous people called the Guanches. The head of this figure is missing, but other examples of Guanche ceramics include figures with heads as prolongation ...
Flemish Paintings on Tables
In the late 15th and first half of the 16th centuries, the cultivation, refining, and marketing of sugar became a major part of the expanding economy of the Canary Islands. The main drivers of the sugar economy were landowners, agents, and traders from Flanders, which at that time was part of the Spanish Empire. Antwerp became the great receiving and distributing center for Canary Island sugar in Europe. One result of this economic activity was the introduction of Flemish art into the Canaries. Art became a means by which the ...
This nautical astrolabe is thought to be among the earliest surviving nautical astrolabes and dates from about 1500−1520. Most nautical astrolabes had a carved mater (graduated circular element), unlike the solid and compact instrument shown here, which bears a resemblance to the astrolabes of Diogo Ribeiro (died 1533), a Portuguese cartographer and inventor who spent most of his life in Spain. The purpose of nautical astrolabes was to measure the altitude of the sun or a star above the horizon. Navigators could determine a ship’s latitude by knowing ...
José Jorge Oramas (1911−35) was an artist of Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands of Spain. Oramas died young from tuberculosis, and only 70 of his paintings survive. Most are depictions of Canary landscapes and are full of light conveyed through vivid color and intense clarity. Risco (Cliff) shown here is a typical example. The orange, white, and blues impart dynamism to this simple horizontal composition. The sharply perpendicular palm trunks connecting the land and sky add to the sense of space and perspective. Gran Canaria’s vegetation ...
Manolo Millares was a self-taught artist born in 1926 in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain. Shown here is his Cuadro 111 (Painting 111), made some time after 1960, an abstract work in startlingly vivid tones of green, purple and black. Millares was influenced by Surrealism from the late 1940s and attracted to the works of Klee and Miró. In that period, he began making abstract pictograms inspired by the Guanches, the indigenous Canaries people, and the pre-Hispanic culture of the islands, and he was ...
Smoking Room: Stories of the English People of the Canaries
Rafael Romero Quesada, better known by his pseudonym, Alonso Quesada (1886−1925), was an important modernist poet living on Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain. He was also literary critic and translator, who explored many forms of creative writing, among them fiction, theater, and journalism. Shown here is Smoking room: Cuentos de los ingleses de la colonia en Canarias (Smoking room: Stories of the English people of the Canaries; the cover is actually marked “Smocking-room”), some parts of which are in manuscript and others in typescript. The ...
Letter from Saulo Torón to Fernando González
This document is a letter from Saulo Torón (1885−1974) to his fellow Gran Canaria poet Fernando González (1901−72). Torón was one of the most important exponents of Canaria (Spanish) poetic modernism, along with Tomás Morales and Alonso Quesada. He belongs to the so-called Lyrical school of Telde, which includes González, Montiano Placeres, Luis Baez, Patricio Pérez, and Hilda Zudán. Torón’s poetry was characterized by its simple tone and lack of elaborated style. In this letter, he sends his friend the galley proofs of his poem “El Caracol ...
Infertile Woman II
Mujer infecunda II (Infertile woman II) is a late work by the Canary Islands artist Antonio Padrón Rodríguez (1920−68). The works of this painter’s last years are characterized by intense use of color and abstract expressionism, although here he has also used some dark somber tones. The image presents a fertility ritual, perhaps being performed by a woman seeking to become pregnant. She is a metaphor for the earth and the struggle to wrest growth from the islands, with their periods of drought. It is an image of ...
The Green Lightning
El rayo verde (The green lightning) is a late work by the Canary Islands artist Antonio Padrón Rodríguez (1920−68). He was born and lived most of his life in Gáldar, Gran Canaria, and many of his works reflect a strong sense of Canary location, customs, and people. He is linked to the Luján Pérez school, named for religious sculptor José Luján Pérez (1756−1815), who inspired a tradition of artists working in various media and focused on local culture, identity, and the position of Canary people in the world ...
Author Books, or Handicraft Models of “The Roses of Hercules” by Tomás Morales
Tomás Morales (1884−1921) was one of the main poets of the Hispanic modernist movement. His major work Las rosas de Hércules (The roses of Hercules) was written under the influence of French Symbolism and the works of the greatest representative of literary modernism in the Spanish language, the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío (1867−1916). Morales’s work offers a singular vision of the poetic outlook of the first quarter of the 20th century, in which mythology and aesthetics contribute to a richly varied language, sometimes intense and sometimes delicate ...
Portrait of the Poet Tomás Morales
Shown here is a portrait of Tomás Morales (1884−1921), one of the main poets of the Hispanic modernist movement. The image is by painter and photographer Tomás Gómez Bosch (1887−1980) a friend of the poet’s. The portrait bears less resemblance to traditional photographs than to a charcoal drawing, because Gómez Bosch modified the photograph with a gum bichromate process. This process was developed during the second half of the 19th century, and was used by Gómez Bosch between 1912 and 1919. Gómez Bosch drew on the light-sensitive ...
The Fountain of Gold
Presented here is the original autograph manuscript of La Fontana de Oro (The fountain of gold), the first novel by the great Spanish writer Benito Pérez Galdós (1843−1920). The manuscript dates from 1868; the novel was published in 1870. Galdós was a major literary figure in 19th century Spain, comparable in the scope and quality of his literary output to Charles Dickens in Great Britain and Honoré de Balzac in France. He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain, and lived ...
Portrait of Benito Pérez Galdós
This portrait of the writer Benito Pérez Galdós was produced by the Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida in 1894. Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on January 10, 1843, Galdós became a major Spanish literary figure, the author of more than 80 titles that included novels, historical novels, and plays. His work encompasses many different features and trends, including a realism that recalls certain novels of the Spanish Golden Age as well as the influence of 19th-century Russian and French writers. Other major themes in Galdós’s fiction ...
View of the Port of La Luz and the City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
This watercolor landscape, painted in about 1889, is by Eliseo Meifrèn y Roig (1859−1940), a Catalonian artist who specialized in impressionist marine seascapes. It represents a partial view of the Bay of La Isleta and Puerto de La Luz, near the northeast tip of the island of Gran Canaria, with the house of the maritime pilot and the English barges that supplied the coal trade. In the distance is the town of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, capital of the Spanish province of Las Palmas. The Puerto de La ...
Layout Plan for the Sheltered Port of La Luz and the Projected Works
This document is an original plan for the port of La Luz, situated in the Bay of Las Isletas in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain). It was drawn up by the engineer Juan de León y Castillo (1834-1912), whose idea was to construct an outer dock measuring 1,240 meters long, starting from an anterior pier providing shelter on a north-south axis. A transverse dock some 600 meters in length running in an east-west direction would complete the port seawall and separate the port from the outer ...
Offices for Shipping and Forwarding Companies of Elder
This photograph, taken in 1907, shows the interior of the offices of a British shipping and forwarding company in the port of La Luz, near the northeast tip of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain). La Luz, also known as Las Palmas Port, was built between 1883 and 1903 by the British firm of Swanston and Company. Strategically located some 100 kilometers west of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean, between the continents of Europe, Africa, and the Americas, the Canary Islands was important as a coaling station for steamships transiting long ...
Garden Party at the British Club of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
In the early 20th century, the British Club was the center of the social life of the British expatriate community in Gran Canaria, one of the islands in the Canary Islands archipelago. Located next to the Metropole Hotel in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and close to the English (Protestant) Church, it was a place for leisure and recreation as well as for business meetings for its members. This photograph from the 1890s shows elegantly dressed men and women dancing at a garden party at the club. In the background to ...
Meeting Minutes of the First Plenary Session of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria (Council of Gran Canaria) is an administrative and legislative body that was first formed in 1913 under the Ley de Cabildos (Councils Act) passed the previous year in the Kingdom of Spain. Such councils were an instrument of governance used by the old regime in both the Canary Islands and the Americas. During the dictatorship of Francisco Franco members of the Cabildo were appointed by the government, and its functions were limited to administration, focusing on such matters as public health and welfare and roads ...
Plans for the Cabildo of Gran Canaria
Presented here is the set of plans and elevations for the head office of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria (Council of Gran Canaria), located on Bravo Murillo Street, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The plans are preserved in the General Archive of the Cabildo. These architectural drawings have exceptional documentary value. They are the only complete surviving set of plans of several that were used in the workshop of the architect, Miguel Martín-Fernández de la Torre, who worked on the project between 1929 and 1932. The plans are dated Las ...
Drawings for the Bid of Fitting Furniture and Interior Design of the New Branch of the Island Council of Gran Canaria
These drawings are part of the documentation that the sculptor Juan Márquez (1903−80) presented as part of his bid for the furnishing and interior decoration of the new offices of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria (Council of Gran Canaria), located at Bravo Murillo Street in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. These copies are the only surviving document set and provide insights into the proposals offered by Márquez. The competition to select the designer of these interior spaces was governed by the technical tender documentation, issued on October 15, 1938 ...