A new imagery/ Raúl Alonso
ÁLVARO DE BAZÁN, ANTONIO DE GAZTAÑETA, JORGE JUAN, ROMERO DE LANDA, ISAAC PERAL, NARCISO MONTURIOL, FERNANDO VILLAAMIL, MANUEL RECHEA, HONORATO BOUYÓN, or FERNANDO CASADO DE TORRES E YRALA are all of them sailors and shipbuilders that now appear in front of our eyes in a new interpretation made by the painters Alejandro Decinti and Óscar Villalón.
In order to create these paintings, the authors have carried out intensive research, following the trail of these distinguished personalities through graphic records. In many cases, the images available were insufficient or of low quality, which has forced Decinti and Villalón to reinterpret and process all this information, producing as a result a series of works, all of them executed with scrupulous meticulousness, interpreted in the light of 21st century artists.
All the works in this project, specifically commissioned by the Higher Technical School of Naval Engineering, share a common element: the validity of the copy as a representative symbol, one of the central concepts of contemporary artistic creation and the common bonds uniting many artistic manifestations.
Nowadays no one can conceive of the plastic arts separated from the process of mass-production, engraving, author copies or casts of sculptures. All these practices have been widely used since antiquity, for collecting or didactic purposes. There are numerous and emblematic examples: without bronze or plaster casts, few works of art of the classical world would have remained to us.
However, it would be unfair to categorize all these pieces of work made by Decinti and Villalón as mere copies, it would be much more precise to define them as creative copies, something with a solid tradition in painting. We cannot forget Rubens's interpretations of Titian, whose paintings he copied for many years, as well as "Las Meninas" painted by Picasso, interpreting Velázquez's original, or the multiple portraits of Pope Innocent X by Francis Bacon, also inspired by the Sevillian master.
At this stage we should remember the dual roles of artist and teacher that both Alejandro Decinti and Óscar Villalón play. In 2004 they founded the Painting Studio Academia de pintura Decinti & Villalón, a place where academic teaching, workshops, a gallery and a publishing house are combined. Already in 1776, the Court painter for Charles III, Anton Raphael Mengs, alluding to the didactic potential of copies from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, pointed out that those reproductions should be “...useful for the progress of Fine Arts and Public Teaching”.
Artistic creation is a chain that connects works of art, authors and movements with the determinants and the distinctive features imposed by every historical moment. Decinti and Villalón give us as a present this gallery of portraits, inherited from a rooted pictorial tradition, but sustained by the new possibilities offered by the current IT applications of image processing, to become a peerless transmittor of the artistic development of a new imagery.
Raúl Alonso Sáez
Historiador del Arte
Coordinador de Exposiciones
Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte