On November 23 there are fulfilled hundred years of the death of Eduardo Barrón González
Hundred years of the death of Eduardo Barrón González
Eduardo Barrón González
Eduardo Barrón González (Mulberry trees of the Wine, Zamora, 1858 – Madrid, 1911) created this beautiful sculptural set in 1904 with which it would receive the First Medal in the National Exhibition of Fine arts. He studied in the Royal Academy of San Fernando and in Rome thanks to a scholarship that it obtained of the Delegation of Zamora in 1881. There it realizes different works. Of this epoch, 1883, it is the sculpture Viriato located in Zamora. In 1889 it returns to Spain, to Madrid, where, from 1892, it links with the Prado Museum. Between its works they emphasize the already mentioned sculpture of Viriato, the monument to Columbus in Salamanca (1893) and the monument to Castelar (1905) in Cadiz. It received different medals and awards along its short career. It entered like member of the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1910 and he was a Conservative - restorer and the Director of the Section of Sculpture of the Prado Museum where it realized an enormous work of cataloging and restoration of the sculpture of the museum, which sat the bases for later publications. Its work comprised the sculptures dated until the XVIIIth century, since the later ones, XIXth and XXth centuries, went to increase the fund of Modern Art museum (MAM) created in 1896.
Way of its job, in the precincts of the Prado Museum he died on November 23, 1911.
The sculptural group
In the Prado Museum, in the rotunda of Ariadna, in the confluence of three corridors or rooms, Eduardo Barrón finds placed the sculpture of Nerón and Séneca of the zamorano. It is necessary to bring over with secretiveness not to bother the speech that Séneca is giving its disciple. It is not necessary to forget that he was one of the best orators and author of multitude of works. Séneca accompanies on its gesture the oratory.
In a bank two protagonists are seated. On them, behind Nerón, to the left of the composition, there is a statuette of a woman of a big beauty. It is a question of the goddess Minerva, goddess of the knowledge, of the arts, of the skills of the war and protector of Rome. That's why it is frequent to see her represented with certain attributes: shield, owl, owlet or owl and supported in an ionic column (regrettably, the copy that here we contemplate, presents some breaks like the left arm).
Nerón is an adolescent young man. It turns out to be dressed in a rich toga edged with geometric motives that stands out for its dark color. Below it seems to take a simple tunic. The head wraps up with a hood that scarcely shows us its hair. On the breast a nice adornment shows with ball typically of the patrician Romans that its status detonates. It wears a few simple shoes. In its right arm it shows a curious wristband in the shape of snake that hovers on her, auguring long life to its bearer. Its hand has turned into handle and in him it supports its right temple. The left arm rests on the support where it supports all its body and also it presents the closed hand, like tension gesture. Nerón is not comfortable, relaxed, the body denotes tension and if we concentrate on its legs we see that these are tense, on the verge of jumping of its seat. The look of Nerón is lost, looks at the gap. It proves to be absent. Almost we can foresee its thought:“ go canister that is giving me” that translated to a current juvenile slang would be: "it goes sheet the old man is giving me, the streaky head has me”.
Nerón finds seated on a beautiful cushion and on a species of blanket richly decorated that stands out for its policromía. To simple sight is evident who the sovereign one is, the nobleman, the patrician one (the Roman people was considering them to be a top class).
Opposite to him, and in contrast, a serene Lucio Anneo Séneca is. A mature, stout and tall man (when it assumed the Nerón tutorship it was counting with 45 years opposite to the 12 of the ward). Of slender head, it shows the typical classic hairstyle with small curls given to the forehead. It looks at the eyes at its pupil. Also it is seated, but without cushion, on the hard marble. Everything in him is sober, austere, there is no color in its toga, it nor shows adornments. The creases of its clothing are executed marvelously. On its left leg it has a parchment roll widespread with a text. With the index finger of its right hand it seems to indicate some passage in particular. If we approach well him it seems that we listen to part of its speech:
«It is a shame that you are so negligent … I will help at once to your reproaches and will do to myself more objections than those that you imagine; now I will answer you this: "I am not a wise person (indicating with its right hand a fragment of the text on its knee) and, so that your malevolence should be glad, I it will ever be. That's why I do not demand of me to be just as the best, but better than the villains: it is enough to me to prune every day something of my vices and to punish my losses”».
Finally, after it approaches the sculptural group what we see it is to a man (father, tutor, teacher) worried by the future of a young man (son, ward, pupil) in a moment in which it gives its educations.
Between both personages, behind the bank, a basket meets a good number of rolls of parchment with the educations of the day (at that time this way was what today we know for a book).
The whole sculptural group is realized in cast, but its final aspect does not provide this sensation to us. On having contemplated the work, we have the sensation that the quality of its finished one corresponds to a few rich cloths, with brocades and borders, or bronzes and mármoles.
Today we have the opportunity to contemplate along with this big work a model to limited scale of the same work that was a donation that the proper author did to Antonio Maura in 1907. (Located in the Foundation Antonio Maura, inventoried with the number 242) the policromía preserves this small work in its almost original state, without scarcely I spoil not even intervention. We can contemplate the absent parts or that are broken in the model to natural scale that realized Marram grass and that probably has served for the restoration of the piece. This small jewel was a gift of the proper author to Antonio Maura (this way it appears in the base of the piece) for the help that received by the negotiations that it did before the Department for the edition of the catalog of the sculptural work of the Prado Museum; without forgetting, also, that Francisco Maura painter and Antonio's brother, coincided awarded a scholarship in Rome with the sculptor zamorano.
Eduardo Barrón realized this work in full artistic ripeness, with 46 years. The individual sculpture of big format had worked. With Nerón and Séneca it confronted a challenge and looked for an original way of attacking this work although the treatment of the forms is very classical. Marram grass centred on the educations leaving aside the tragic Séneca destination. The Séneca death has been a source of inspiration of many artists. In painting we have a few beautiful examples created by Rubens, Jacques-Luis David or Noel Halle. Here in Prado Museum we can contemplate a picture attributed to the school of Rubens The death of Séneca and other that goes for title: Séneca, after opening the veins to him, gets into a bath and its friends possessed of pain, swear hate towards Nerón that decreed the death of its teacher, of Manuel Domínguez Sánchez. The last one gathers in a very graphic way what they tell that it happened: Séneca knowing nearby its end and before the Nerón brutality the veins decided to be cut. First it tried it in the arms. As the blood was not going out, it ordered to make him polite in the back of the knee. And neither it proved there decided to be drunk a poison (hemlock) prepared for such an effect. It drank it and did not do effect to him. Finally it entered the bath and the poisonous steams of a brazier (that is appreciated in the picture) finished with its life.
The sculptor zamorano painted the portrait of both personages in an intimate moment, in full educational task, when both personages were enjoying a good and intense relation, possibly before gaining access to the power the young man Nerón.
Luis José Cuadrado Gutiérrez
This one fragmented form part of the article «Nerón and Séneca in the Prado Museum» that Magazine Atticus published last June of 2011 in its number TWO.
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