de la Gandara's La Déclamation de Don Quichotte à Sancho
(More on Antonio de la Gandara)
Déclamation de Don Quichotte à Sancho Pancha
de la Gandara - French portrait painter (1861-1917)
of the JSS
Oil on canvas
81 x 61.5
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
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
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
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.
|Antonio de la Gandara
(as he saw himself: protector of the poor, the orphans and
Copyright 1998-2005 all rights