The Christening

Gonzalo Bilbao1920

Fundación Banco Santander

Fundación Banco Santander

The work illustrates the artist’s preference for motifs depicting local customs related to religious ceremonies. This demonstrates both his wish to avoid “the lack of subjects in his pictures”, as he pointed out in his inaugural speech at the San Fernando Academy, as well as his spirit of devotion and his affection for these ceremonies. But it is above all an excellent study of light, which in the mid-ground highlights the church’s façade and filters through the branches onto different areas of the foreground. The bold, well-chosen bluish touches stand out to the right, and above all in the upper left part of the picture.

As a result of its quality, skillful composition and colouring, as well as the balance between the figures and the surroundings, the work can be considered as among the best in the artist’s mature period.

Indeed, the façade can be identified with the Romanesque church at Châteauneuf-sur-Charente, near Cognac. The figures are wearing bonnets like those that appear in the work Lavanderas (Washerwomen), painted there in 19091. The artist, who in 1904 married María Roy Lhardy, daughter of a French banker, henceforth made many trips to the neighbouring country, taking advantage of them to expand his repertory of landscapes and pictures of local customs.

Show lessRead more
  • Title: The Christening
  • Date Created: 1920
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w960 x h650 mm (Complete)
  • Painter: Gonzalo Bilbao
  • Exhibition: Madrid, Spain
  • Credit Line: Signed in the bottom right corner, “G. Bilbao”;
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Oil on canvas