There is a big appetite for culture in Tenerife, not just from local artists like Oscar Dominguez of La Laguna but also great painters from different countries and eras. Santa Cruz is fortunate that the Caja Canarias HQ in the capital has a steady stream of big exhibitions, the latest, Los Objetos Hablan (Objects Speak) brings 60 exhibits from the famous Prado Art Museum in Madrid until 16 January 2016.
Housed on two floors and free to enjoy, the selection shows how art can tell us so much about its setting, its era, the subject, and the artist. The first of four sections tells us: ‘The Key Is In The Object’. All the exhibits are accompanied by detailed notes in English as well as Spanish, drawing attention for instance to the grisly human teeth made into a necklace on El Charlatan Sacamuelas by Theadoor Rambouts. There are plenty of secret keys in The Holy Face by Jacopo Amigoni, from the cherub wings to the fine silk scrolls, all alluding to the wealth of the church creeping into the religious message.
On weekend visits to Santa Cruz art galleries like TEA sometimes I find them rather under used, maybe other temptations like shopping, walking, or sightseeing deplete the numbers but for this midweek visit a large guided group of around 50 people were filling their boots with culture. The well laid out alcoves and rooms of the Caja Canarias halls made sure we all had plenty of room to feast our senses.
‘Collections’ is another of the sections and shows that even the artists themselves like to shine a light on their own dedication to the painting cause. Jan Brueghel in La Vista couldn’t resist setting a family group against a full wall of his earlier works. The Prado is no exception to this interest, some tools and props associated with art history are also on display in Santa Cruz. There’s a palette from Eduardo Rosales, a silver writing case from Don Jose de Madrazo (a former Prado director), and several hats worn by Prado staff in the early years.
‘Objects Portray Us’ looks at some of the accessories used in paintings. Isabel Of France, Queen Of Spain by Frans Pourbus adorns publicity for the exhibition and despite her regal features it is the stunning jewels that catch the eye, the lady is keen to draw attention to them. Woman On The Beach by Cecilio Pla shows pride in possessions even in a informal setting. You certainly wouldn’t see such riches being flashed about on the beaches of Torviscas or Los Cristianos. Probably the most famous work in the collection is The Last Supper by Luis Tristan, even in that religious study, a golden jug dominates the table.
‘A Hidden Message’ deals more with symbols, religious and political. Many of these appear in more conventional portraits and family gatherings. There’s plenty going on at different levels in this exhibition, the large open setting allows the visitor to flow around the works and appreciate the thought that has gone into picking a varied selection from such a massive art house.
Los Objetos Hablan; Caja Canarias Espacio Cultural, Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz; open to 16 January 2016, Mon to Fri 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm, Sat 10am to 2pm, closed Sun & Holidays
Category : days out
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