Balenciaga and Spanish Painting

By Stanislav Zimin

 

Fashion and art have always been closely intertwined. And the masterpieces of the old masters often became a source of inspiration for fashion designers and artisans.

The color palette of El Greco's works, the three-dimensional textures of Francisco de Surbaran's canvases had a huge impact on the work of the Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga, and his works became a real sensation on the fashion catwalks of Paris. His clients included the Spanish royal family and court grandees. The famous photographer Cecil Beaton called him "The Picasso of fashion".

  •  Ignacio Zuloaga, ‘Portrait of María del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay, Duchess of Alba’ 1921. Fundación Casa de Alba. Palacio de Liria, Madrid

  •  Evening gown (taffeta) 1952. Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria. © Museo Cristóbal Balenciaga. © Jon Cazenave

  •  El Greco ‘The Annunciation’ Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1575-1576

  •  Evening gown, 1960. Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria. Photography © Jon Cazenave

Balenciaga felt the power of art from an early age. His mother was employed by the Marquis of Casa Torres as a seamstress, and the boy, waiting for his mother for hours in the palace of Getaria, spent time in front of the works of Velasquez, El Greco, Goya, Pantoja de la Cruz.

Throughout his artistic career, Balenciaga constantly studied art history and used this knowledge during his life, reviving historical clothing and interpreting it in his strikingly modern manner.

  •  Ramón Casas Carbó. ‘Julia’ c.1915. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza en préstamo gratuito al Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga

  •  Evening jacket, 1946. Hamish Bowles Collection. © Jon Cazenave

  •  Francisco de Goya, ‘Queen María Luisa in a Dress with hooped Skirt’ c. 1789. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. © Archivo Fotográfico Museo Nacional del Prado

  •  Evening gown, 1963. Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria. © Museo Cristóbal Balenciaga. © Jon Cazenave

The billowing train of the flamenco dancer's dress from the painting by Antonio Maria Esquivel can be seen in the ruffles of some dresses, the brilliance of the decorative elements of the toreador costume from the canvas by Ramon Casas is elegantly conveyed in the embroidery on the bolero jacket, and the aesthetics of the Habsburg court dress is reflected in the black velvet ensemble – these are just a few examples of historical allusions that the master used.

  •  Francisco de Zurbarán ‘Saint Elisabeth of Portugal’ c. 1635. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. © Archivo Fotográfico Museo Nacional del Prado

  •  Dress and overskirt evening ensemble c. 1951. Museo del Traje, Madrid Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte. © Jon Cazenave

  •  Francisco de Goya "The Duchess of Alba in White", 1795

  •  Evening gown, 1955 – 1960

 

 

Extreme oriental

Complete your request