The painter of battles: "I'm up to the balls of foreigners pissing on the flag" | Culture


Spanish must be said more. Also: "There are no eggs". Because it is the secret weapon that has made the Spanish troops invincible. "What do you think the captain of the Glorioso said?" That. "My thing is to paint the historic win and the ship El Glorioso could with seven British boats. A 7-1! That was a landslide! " Speaks Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, without hairs in the headlines. We are in the studio of the painter of soldiers and battles, where he composes an omelet of honor, nobility and epic to recover a heroic memory that, he says, we forget the Spaniards. "Because we feel ashamed of being Spanish. I want to recover the other historical memory, "he says. Your battle is summarized in a book, Sketches for history, that just published Espasa.

We feel ashamed to be Spanish. I want to recover the other historical memory

It is his particular trip to the past, full of reddish pride and an exquisite technique, after becoming, in the nineties for the pleasure of his dealer, in the Antonio López de Barcelona, ​​in the nationalist painter who today has made him famous among the most loyal to the Spanish flag. This 54-year-old Catalan has picked up the nineteenth-century tradition of history painting, determined to raise the patriotic spirit, the creation of myths and the souffle of legends. A machine of icons not on the Spain Brand, but on the brand of Spanishness. The DNA of the Spaniards, in the eyes of Ferrer-Dalmau, is launched in the shipyard and "the formula of bad milk".

The counterprogramming of goodness

His scenes are reminiscent of a time so past and adapted to that warrior genius, decisive moments of a bravery and haughtiness that has disappeared. Because, above the sabers, the mists, the horses and the mud, we speak of pure nostalgia. Of something the painter misses. "I do not like people to die, but if you have to defend yourself, you have to fight. I do not want to conquer anything, but I want to defend myself and we must defend ourselves against jihadism. Who will understand us when the oil runs out and come to conquer us? I will never understand who is against the Army. We, the Spaniards of 2018, are what we are for those who fought before us. Spain is a big cemetery, there is not a foot of ground without soldier's bones. It is unfair that we do not remember them. We are a bunch of ungrateful people! ", Says the painter.

The battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.
The battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.

What does Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau fear more, the anachronism or pacifism? "I'm tired of being called facha for painting these things. They accuse me of militarist apology, but I paint the Spanish essence and if we do not fight once a year, something strange has happened. We were born warriors! I do not feel ashamed to be Spanish and I'm so damned if foreigners piss on the flag. " That is why he recognizes that he paints the epic moment, because he wants to make known the deeds. That we defend the indefensible and we should feel proud of this. "We can not deny it: we are wolves", explains the artist who speaks with disenchantment of the avant-garde movements that, at the beginning of the 20th century, destroyed classical painting. "An abstract you paint in 20 minutes and they pay you ten times more. A history chart is not easy, you have to document a lot. The past is very complicated. "

My thing is to paint the historic rout and the ship El Glorioso could with seven British ships. A 7-1! That was a win!

The battle painter has a complete collection of 19th century army swords at the entrance to his home. He is a collector of the warlike past, but he needs peace and a stable market to continue reproducing his images of honor and resistance. He never paints women because he says he does not know how to do them, that they are very masculine. But there is, at least, one that raises her baby in her arms so that her father, a soldier on horseback who is going to make war, will say goodbye to him. It does not make women nor represents the ignoble side of the contests, that is to say, the tortures, the violations, the barbarities. "That is not the Spanish essence. I'm looking for the honorable part of the soldiers, "he says. Another taboo in his career: the Civil War. "I would like it because there are very nice scenes, like the crossing of the Ebro, but it is a political weapon and I can not paint it like that," he laments. The Blue Division has painted it.

In the battle of painting, Ferrer-Dalmau dislodges the picture of allegories. His painting is of action, against the symbolic, but in favor of the symbol. The flag and are good times for the market of the demand and exaltation of the symbol. That is why he proposed to the former foreign minister to create a workshop for painters who were dedicated to building large murals, sculptures, "immense" paintings about events that have no iconographic representation. "We can not allow that American to say that Columbus was a genocide," he stresses. The work of Ferrer-Dalmau is sentimental propaganda, a kind of militarized 'Save me' that grabs the viewer by his emotions, thanks to scenes of blood, sweat and misery. "In Spain we do not paint dirty," he says. And he's right, maybe because the epic always has a nauseating side.

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