Goya Arrives In Havana With The Kings Of Spain

Havana, Nov 14 (EFE) .- One of the iconic self-portraits of Francisco de Goya arrives in Havana with the kings of Spain, who toured this Thursday the room where the exhibition of the painting will take place, which will remain for a month in the city to mark the first official visit of a Spanish monarch to Cuba.

Felipe VI and Mrs. Letizia began their last day on the island with a visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA), the most important in the country, accompanied by the Vice Minister of Culture, Fernando Rojas, and the director of the institution, Jorge Fernández .

The MNBA is located in an imposing building in Old Havana, which holds special significance in the common history between Spain and Cuba for being the old Asturian Center of Havana, built by immigrants from that autonomous community.

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In his speech during the dinner offered the previous night to Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, the king insisted on his desire that Spanish culture be better known on the island and that it can influence local creators.

"We want you to know our great works and therefore, on this trip, we have the privilege of offering the people of Cuba the impressive portrait of Goya that will be hosted in the MNBA in the coming weeks," said Don Felipe, who stressed the importance of the cultural collaboration as an "essential element" of the bilateral relationship.

The canvas, dated by Goya in 1815, belongs to the funds of the Prado Museum, which celebrates its two centuries this year and has applied a restrictive loan policy, which makes this transfer much more exceptional, the first of the Madrid art gallery Cuba.

Chronologically it is Goya's second self-portrait that preserves the Prado, which does not currently keep it on display.

It is an official portrait where the artist (1746-1828) is seen in a white shirt, on which he wears the dark red velvet robe with which many of his colleagues were painted in similar paintings of the late 18th and early centuries 19th century

The technique used, "in the manner of Venetian painting, accentuates the soft, somewhat flaccid skin of the face, which needs little external light to stand out in the 'ambient air', almost Velazquez," describes the Prado catalog.

This will be the fourth time that the painting has arrived in America in the last two decades: the most recent during an exhibition in the United States.

The painting arrived on the island with the support of the Spanish Cultural Action Society and since last day 9 was in "isolated rest" in a room for acclimatization, the Spanish ambassador to Cuba, Juan Fernández Trigo, told Efe.

Upon learning about the "eighteenth-century painting deficit" in the MNBA collection and the special attraction of Cubans to Goya, Fernández Trigo and his team contacted the Prado, who in the midst of the bicentennial celebrations showed "great generosity "by letting the canvas go to Cuba for more than a month.

"I think it will be a success. It will have a capacity to attract huge audiences. Cubans will have a historic opportunity to see a frontline painting," said the diplomat.

For a few days, a large banner announces the exhibition from the facade of the building that overlooks the Central Park of Havana, one of the nerve centers of the capital, which will turn 500 in two days.

This will be one of the last official acts of the kings in Havana before leaving for Santiago de Cuba (east), the second most important Cuban city and the first seat of the Spanish colonial government on the island, since its founding in 1515 until 1556 EFE

yg-lcl / aam

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