Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sebastián de Morra (1646)


Just like Sebastián de Morra, Juan Calabazas, also known as Calabacillas or “El bobo de Coria” served to the Cardinal infant until 1632 before serving as the personal jester of the Queen.[1] He is only registered in the documents of Palace from 1630 to1639. Other sources suggest that he was taken to Palace by de Duke of Alba, then the Marquis of Coria in Extremadura, hence the nickname, the fool of Coria. Being a very young kid, Her true name is disputed and appears in the documents either as Juan Martín Martín[2] or as Juan de Cárdenas . He was very protected by Baltasar Carlos and had an status of privilege, giving orders to other jesters. Velázquez did two separate portraits of him, the firt one in 1628 under the title The jester Calabacillas with a windmill. Like the portrait of Don Juan de Austria, Velázquez places the figure in an architectural setting, standing in what seems to be the Galleries of the Alcazar of Madrid[3] and displays an early attempt of the mastery of perspective achieved in the portrait of Pablo de Valladolid. It’s often considered one of Velázquez most moving portraits, since the fearful expression of the jester gives ground to theories those like Leslie Fiedler’s that insist that disabled people either inspire pity or fear. The ingrained apprehension that this portrait inspires in some viewers would stem from “unconscious impulses, otherwise confessed only in our dreams but which once raised to the level of full consciousness serve as a grid of perception wth we screen the socalled reality”[4]. In a similar
Melania Moscoso, 2009 ©

[1] Op. Cit p.85.
[2] Lafuente Ferrari, Op.cit. p.220
[3] Francis, Henry S. 1965 “Portrait of the jester Calabazas” Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art,Vol .52, n 9.p.118
[4] Fiedler, Leslie. 1996. Tyranny of the normal : Essays on bioethics, theology & myth Boston : D.R. Godine 1996.P.34
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This obra by Representations of Disability in Spanish Baroque Portraiture:Velazquez´s jesters is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento 3.0 Estados Unidos License.
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Zed said...

Hola, Caperucita Coja!

What tears me up is the amazing humanism of Sebastian de Morra -- this is a soulful portrait. Part of me wants to shunt that aside in favor of the sophisticated structural representation of an entire society in Las Meninas -- an intellectualization of the coarse hierarchy of Baltasar Carlos and His Dwarf -- but the look in the eye of Sebastian cannot be denied. He's a man with at least as much life in him as me, if not more. Like V's portrait of his slave, Juan de Pareja. I want to be steely and intellectual and seek a structuralist knowledge of the production of identities in a social web anchored in the spectral identity of the sovereign. But I go to art for soul, for the thing that exceeds my grasp.

Caperucita Coja said...

Hi Zed,

Just saw it. Thanks for your comments , and good to hear from you. I really miss our interesting conversations. I f you ever set up an Skype account and feel in the mood for an oversea chat let me know. I´m sure Grant won´t mind