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SPAIN: Lorca, Bunuel, Dali and Cellini
Christopher Jones writes: "Although Lorca leaned to the left, before his death he courted friendship with Falangist José Antonio Primo de Rivera. I consider Lorca incredibly overrated, a bit of a literary Che Guevara reeking of olive oil. His poetry however is wonderful, but frankly I like Rafael Albertí (also at the Resi) better. Buñuel is far more interesting character in my view: he is the classic, irrational, anticlerical republican Spaniard who is fascinated with the Catholic church, the pilgrimage to Santiago and so on. The magnificent author/historian Benito Perez Galdós highly influenced his filmwork, and he wrote and directed an excellent version of Nazarín with the late Murcian actor Paco Rabal. On the other hand, Dalí was conservative by nature and spent the rest of his life trying to wriggle out of his open admiration for Franco and even Hitler (whom he later condemned as an example of sadomasochism: i.e. Hitler was a masochist who really wanted to lose the war.) Dali detested socialists for their sentimentality which I think is a very profound statement! Of the three, Dalí was the only one to become very wealthy. He really started building his fortune during a 12 year stay in the US (principally in Pebble Beach) . At one time tried to become a US citizen and spent every winter in New York. Although he said he was a better writer than painter, very few artists have come close to his technical mastery of painting. He was highly influenced by two very different artists and their styles: the "hyper realism" of Velazquez and the "ideal" of Raphael. Thematic inspiration came from the Dutch 17th century master Vermeer. He was a brilliant portraitist. But unfortunately his genetic attachment to money (don't forget his Catalan-ness) and gangsters led to the "Great Dali art fraud" in the late 70's which almost destroyed his oeuvre. Fortunately it did not and he is increasingly seen as the last "Renaissance" man, albeit a little like the roguish Benvenuto Cellini, the man he admired so much".
RH: As a result of my experiences in the Spanish Civil War I lost my belief in unfettered "liberty", and now I am convinced that only a sense of responsibility will save the world. Whatever talents this crowd may have had, a sense of responsibility was not one of their characteristics.
Ronald Hilton - 6/30/03