The Drunkards

Josep Maria Sert1931

Fundación Banco Santander

Fundación Banco Santander
Madrid, Spain

The Drunkards reveals Sert’s liking for pantomime and farce, as well as his evident admiration for Goya. Each gesture and detail in the canvas is extremely carefully devised: the zigzagging composition, the rhythmical movements of the principal group and the central figure with its grotesque face. The influence of the theatre is clearly evident in the presentation of the action, which is notably exaggerated and presented in the manner of a comic sketch. A highly studied interplay of diagonals and verticals organises the composition as a whole, while light and shade add drama to this comic episode. In addition, the spatial organisation over various levels also suggests the influence of the theatre. Sert often used this type of organisation, arranging his figures as if on a stage. This relationship between the painted canvas and the theatre becomes particularly evident if we bear in mind specific aspects of Sert’s working method, such as the way he would devise gestures and poses with the help of small Nativity figures and how he would arrange them on raised wooden boards in order to photograph them. As a result, it could be said that Sert “directed” his figures in a way comparable to a theatrical director with the actors. Similarly, his work demands the viewer’s attentive gaze, given that, like the theatre, his painting is made to be looked at, creating situations and emotions that momentarily transport the viewer into the interior space of the canvas.

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  • Title: The Drunkards
  • Date Created: 1931
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w2210 x h4200 mm (Complete)
  • Painter: Josep Maria Sert
  • Exhibition: Madrid, Spain
  • Credit Line: This panel is from the series Camacho’s Wedding, painted by Sert for one of the gala dining rooms in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Black and gold grisaille on canvas panel

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