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La Déclamation de Don Quichotte à Sancho Pancha
Antonio de la Gandara - French portrait painter (1861-1917)
Private collection
Oil on canvas
81 x 61.5 cm 
Jpg: Friend of the JSS Gallery

Based on the book  "Don Quixote" (Spanish 1605, "Quixote" being the common English spelling of the name) is widely considered one of the first "modern" novels of the "modern" languages and it is  almost universally grouped with the most important novels of all time.

Don Quixote, a tall lanky Spaniard of the lowest rank of nobility, quick to flights of fancy and grandiosity, gets it in his head that it's up to him to save the poor, the orphans and the oppressed. Sancho Pancha a short stocky commoner is Don Quixote's sidekick and manservant, thinks his boss is loveable but a bit nuts.

The Declamation of Don Quixote  to Sancho Pancha is near the beginning of the book where Quixote is lecturing to Sancho in his library as to what their quest should be and why. Look at the expression on Sancho's face -- LOL.

Nuts he may be, but off they go, just the two -- a knight and a squire (like a scene out of Monty Python's Holy Grail) across the countryside (less the coconuts as Don Quixote has a scrawny horse -- of sorts -- and Sancho has a donkey) both are off  to right wrongs well past the age of knights.

Much of the book is the exchange -- quarrel, lecture, and argument between the idealist Don Quixote and the realist Sancho Pancha.

Quixote attacks windmills thinking they are giants. He charges a flock of sheep thinking they are distant armies. And he liberates common thieves thinking they are subjugated surfs only to be pelted with rocks for their thanks. He falls in love (from afar) with a rude barmaid whom is omitting a foul and unpleasant odor -- 
Quixote thinks she is a beautiful princess held under a spell by a wicked sorcerer -- all Sancho can do is shake his head.

The book is brilliant on so many levels.

Written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547 - 1616) as two books with almost ten years between them, the sequel ends when Don Quixote becomes disillusioned and returns home to die a broken man. Sancho, on the other hand, has come to believe the ideals which his boss had exhorted.
* * *

La Gandara produced 3 different versions of
Don Quichotte -- this one and one we know which is in private collection in Belgium (image unavailable) and the third (the black and white thumbnail) we don't know where it is or who owns it. None of these
were ever used to illustrate a book that we know.

The artist admits in writings that he was obsessed by Don Quichotte and apparently these were done for his own pleasure.


(Sieber, Harry. "Don Quixote." World Book Online Reference Center. 2005. World Book, Inc. 31 Jan. 2005. < com/wb/Article?id=ar163780>.)


Antonio de la Gandara

"Don Quixote" 
(as he saw himself: protector of the poor, the orphans and the oppressed.
c. 1912


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2005 all rights reserved
Created 1/24/2005