By Nancy Todd
Those Moors, coming in from the African continent in 714 A.D., may have contributed more to art in Spain than any other culture. They brought the art of ceramics with them to Seville which had large deposits of clay next to the Guadalquiver River. Oh, there were a few hunks of ceramics from other cultures but none as decorative and as technically competent as that of the Moors. Their talents boggle the eye in tiles, floors, walls, and facades on architectural masterpieces throughout the city. Many of the skills they brought to Spain are being used today with industrial ceramics and pottery for the home. Unfortunately, Queen Isabel ousted the Moors and Jews from Spain in 1492.
Those who did not choose to leave were killed. We know what else happened in her banner year with a man named Columbus.
A gaze anywhere in Seville brings you eyeball to eyeball with figurative tilework.The usual religious folks abound plus flamenco dancers, shoppers, people eating tapas, and animals who are all represented in a painterly, colorful style. My favorite is a life size, Studebaker car ad, at least twenty five feet long on Sierpes Street.
Five sassy women are in a black convertible going for a joyride. Most people didn’t have cars in those days and most women would not do something as unlady-like as drive a car. Senor Pinto completed this knock out mural in 1924. Rodin’s statue of The Thinker is in the background, perhaps the inference being: thinking people buy Studebakers.
Of course there are also the Moorish arches, street signs (when you can find them), and decorative household ware.Ceramic art is everywhere in this city: in foyers, restaurants, churches, private patios, flower urns, bathrooms, rooftops, and wash basins.All this is more from the Moors and Queen Isabel, you made a big, fat mistake.