Do these pictures of the Canarian Parliament offend you? We can and CC, yes

Plenary Hall of the Government of the Canary Islands. / c7

They ask to cover them when there are plenary sessions

Podemos and Canarian Coalition want
'censor' the cadres that preside over the plenary hall of the Parliament of the Canary Islands. This Wednesday, Podemos and the Canarian Coalition will request that during the plenary sessions the paintings by the painter Manuel González Méndez that preside over the hemicycle be covered.

These are two scenes of the conquest of the islands by the Castilians and the rejection of these works has united two parties traditionally opposed in Parliament such as CC and Podemos.

On its website, the Canarian Parliament collects the following text on the artistic value of the works, signed by Alejandra Villarmea López, collaborator of the Royal Canarian Academy of Fine Arts:

«The two large canvases that decorate the front of the presidency in the Plenary Hall of the Parliament of the Canary Islands were commissioned in 1902 to the palmero painter Manuel González Méndez, as part of the project to adapt the building of the extinct Musical Society of Santa Cecilia, to its new functions as the headquarters of the Provincial Council of the Canary Islands.

The one proposed by the building's architect, Manuel de Oraá, as a theater, had to be endowed with the necessary symbolic weight to act as a meeting space for the members of the Chamber, compensating in some way for the decoration of the vault, in which the musical allusions were kept.

With a historicist theme, these works have been described by the historian Alberto Darias Príncipe as
the best examples of history painting in the Canary Islandsbecause even despite the difficulty that the verticality of the space introduced, he managed to overcome the manifestations of other painters fond of the genre such as Gumersindo Robayna or Isidro González Romero.

One of the pictures of the Parliament of the Canary Islands. /


The recurrence of this theme is inserted within the construction movements of national cultural identities, in the context of the definition of the different nation states in the 19th century.

Both cause and effect of this new interest in reflection on Canarian identity was the reissue throughout the century of different works by historians from the 19th century.
s XVI, XVII and XVIII such as Father Espinosa, Núñez de la Peña, Abreu y Galindo, Agustín del Castillo or Viera y Clavijo, being without a doubt the work of the poet-chronicler Antonio de Viana, entitled Antigüedades de las Islas Fortunadas, one of the most inspiring for artists and writers of the late nineteenth century.

The perspective of the bucolic twinning between Castilians and Aborigines reflected by this author is the one that is breathed precisely in the iconography represented by González Méndez in the works of the Plenary Hall.

For the elaboration of these canvases, González Méndez, the most international of the Canarian artists of his generation, trained in Paris with Léon Gérôme, not only compiled abundant information on the events of the time he represented, but also delved deeply into the uses, customs and clothing of the time, coming to reproduce in his Paris studio a complete armor based on the notes he had taken in the Royal Armory of Madrid.

Taking special care in choosing the iconography, as it is a work for an inter-island institution in
one of the most delicate moments of the Insular LawsuitGonzález Méndez dedicated a canvas to Tenerife, representing the Foundation of Santa Cruz, and a canvas to Gran Canaria, entitled The delivery of the princesses.

One of the pictures of the Parliament of the Canary Islands. /


The title traditionally and mistakenly attributed to this last canvas, The Advance and the Guanches, dilutes part of the work's interesting symbology. Possibly inspired by the Chronicle of Sedeño narrates
the delivery to the conqueror Juan de Vera of the young princess Arminda Masequerarenamed with the name of Catalina and custody of the island's dynastic heritage, as the last act of surrender, and as the first step in the Castilian and aboriginal fusion.

The rush of the corporation because González Méndez
the works were finished in 1906 are especially observed in the canvas of the princesseswhich even being iconographically more audacious than its partner La Fundación de Santa Cruz, presents several regrets and unresolved charcoal traces such as the one observable in the ghostly palm tree on the left.

Despite what has been said, González Méndez was able to finally alleviate the exaggerated narrowness of the canvases, with the addition of the Gothic traceries in the upper part, which, together with the great depth achieved through the landscape, give the result the quality of
an open window on the historical scene».

The Guanches ate dog, cat, and lizard meat.
Education defends that History of the Canary Islands is an elective between two

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