[ # ] [ ^ ] [ <- ] [ -> ]

The Generation of 1927.

(La Generacion del 27)

In the 1920s, the regenerating winds of aesthetic avant-guardism blew across EWurope with vigour. Outstanding Spanish personalities such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel figures largely in the movement. The work of the former was intimately tied to his Spanish roots and an excessive and baroque temperament, full of contrasts which seemed to characterize Spanish art. It was Picasso, who, with the Cubist style, wrote the first page of 20th century painting. Admirers of this painter from Malaga can appreciate his Guernica, the portrait depicting the horror of the Nazi bombing of this Basque town during the Civil War, in the Museo de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. In Barcelona, art-lovers can visit Avino Street, the symbolic cradle of Cubism embodied in Las Senoritas de Avignon. There is also the splendid Picasso Museum in the centre of the Gothic quarter, which houses a number of works of his youth, as well as many engravings and the series of paintings inspired by Las Meninas of Velazquez.

Madrid was the birthplace of the Cubist, Juan Gris, who succeeded in reducing the objects he painted to their chromatic mass and elemental geometric properties. And Catalunya can claim parentage of Juan Miro,the master of surrealism, who was profoundly poetic and original, with his infantile style betraying wise vision. A large part of his work is exhibited in the Miro Foundation in Barcelona, which is houses in a superb building designed by the architec Josep Luis Sert.

Also associated with surrealism is Salvador Dali, an exceptional artist, who liked to provoke bourgeois sensibility with shocking and calculate gestures. Dali had lived with Luis Bunuel and Federico Garcia Lorca in the 1920s at the Student Residence (Residencia de Estudiantes) in Madrid. This institution enormously important for its intellectual ambiance and great artistic fertility of its lodgers, persists today as a thriving cultural centre and the site of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. It was there that the group of poets known as the Generation of '27 was born.

For the first time since the beginning of the 17th century, a group of preeminent lyric talents coincided in Spain: Jorge Guillen, Pedro Salinas, Federico Garcia Lorca, Rafael Alberti, the Nobel Prize winner Vicente Aleixandre, Luis Cernuda, Damaso Alonso, Gerardo Diego,... Culturally speaking, the Generation of '27 represented a unique moment in which the prevailing impressions were of the carefree attitude of the avantguard, the illusion of modernist art and the optimism of the old Continent between the wars. In Spain, this ambiance flourished ephemerally in the heady atmosphere created by the proclamation of the Second Republic. Young artists were entranced with the world of cinema, the 'lights of the city', the rupture with the bourgeoisie, the art of realism and the illusion of a political and aesthetic revolution.

Several years later, all of them suffered the tremendous lacerations of the Civil War. Federico Garcia Lorca was assassinated by the Nationalists and his dramatic death symbolized that of an entire creative Generation. Rafael Alberti, Luis Cernuda, Pedro Salinas, Jorge Guillen, Rosa Chacel and Maria Zambrano were forced to go into exile. Their poetry, which had brought to Spanish lyricism the ideal of perfection in 'pure poetry', became more temporal, more reflective.