The famous Spaniards – part 1

The rich warmth and personality of the Spanish people has produced some strong, creative and effervescent people who have become well known around the world. The Spanish have always been strong in the creative arts and there are few who are greater known in the world of art than Pablo Picasso. Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881 and throughout his life he was a painter, sculpture, stage designer and poet. However, it was in the art world that he really came to prominence. In his early years he was a brilliant painter and became well known for his naturalistic works. However, while working in Paris he co-founded “cubism” with the Frenchman Georges Braque. There were different types of “cubism”, but it was the ability to bring three dimensional objects clearly portrayed onto the canvas. Picasso’s later work saw him drifting into a neo classical style but it was his ability to paint in different styles that reflects his brilliance. Another famous artist from the country is Salvador Dali who was born in Figueres in 1904. Dali was renowned for his painting skills that were influenced by the Renaissance masters. His work even spread into film work but his most famous piece of work was “The Persistence of Memory” which can be viewed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

A 1923 painting by Picasso

Sometimes Dali’s work was overshadowed by his personality and he even got himself expelled from the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. He dabbled in different styles but was heavily influenced by Picasso as his work resembled “cubism”’. In his later life his moustache became something of a trademark and he bought a castle in Catalan where he would retreat and paint. One of Hollywood’s leading actors is Antonio Banderas. He was born in Malaga in 1960 and started working in Spanish theatres and movies playing important roles between 1982 and 1990. In 1991 Madonna introduced to Hollywood but he had to be patient as he spoke little English. In 1992 he got his big break with his role in the “Mambo Kings” and he followed this up with his highly acclaimed performance in the 1993 film “Philadelphia”. Since then he has appeared in a variety of leading films and musicals, and was cast as Zorro in the 1998 film “the mask of Zorro”.

The actress Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz became the only Spanish actress to have received an Oscar when she was awarded the prize for her performance as the volatile painter Maria Elena in the 2008 Wood Allen film “Vicky Christina Barcelona”. Born in Madrid in 1974 Cruz did not arrive in Hollywood until she was 20 and spent the initial years learning English and ballet in between acting in films. As well as a stellar acting career that has brought her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she has also modelled for leading designers such as Mango and Ralph Lauren. The Spanish produced a number of influential explorers who discovered vast areas of the New World. Hernan Cortes was born in Medellin in 1485 and started off by sailing to Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic, where he stayed for 5 years buying land and in this period he was leading various expeditions colonizing various lands around Cuba and Central America. Sometimes Cortes used rather controversial tactics such as befriending certain indigenous people in order to fight others. Eventually his expeditions took him 1n 1519 into Mexico where he conquered the region and the Aztec empire. There were many bloody battles that were fought as Cortes’s army attempted to capture Tenochtitlan and in 1521 victory was won and the city was renamed Mexico City.

He then governed Mexico for the next three years before visiting Honduras and returning to Spain. He received many honors by Charles V and then once again set off to Mexico where he discovered Baja California. His life was spent travelling the New World claiming new territories for Spain.