As a Spanish saying goes “the last one turned off the lights” and the photographic magic of Fernando Maquieira was switched on. Let us begin with the Prado: A shot from the distance of the ‘instant portrait’ of Jovellanos highlights in sublime chiaroscuro the art of Goya to convey the inconsolable unhappiness of his friend. Let’s wander with Fernando to the Reina Sofia: a halo of twilight bathes the sculptures of Richard Serra ‘Guernica – Bengasi’; Fernando captures the soft beauty of the immobile, a second before the earth shudders and death emerges in a brutal aura of devastation. Back in the Prado, Fernando reveals the secret immanence that prevailed in the relationship between the King and the Genius who created, for the monarch’s eyes only, a ”big picture with the Infanta Margarita in the center and a very ugly dwarf on the right”. The curtain rises and the stage appears full of a tenebrist atmosphere where the nocturnal solitude, portrayed by Fernando, indicates without ambiguity the clues of the mystery of the hermaphrodite, Felipe IV and the master Velázquez whose figure is blurred on a daily basis when visitors take over the museum and the standard lighting illuminates the open space.
Fernando Maquieira leaves us the ultimate gift, a beautiful legacy with ‘Nocturna’. Thanks to his work, we share the painter’s sense of unique privilege while contemplating his finished work alone. Fernando transforms us into the curious clandestine voyeur who approaches surreptitiously the open space where masterpieces are displayed, sheltered in the darkness of subjugating atmospheres, to look at art, as the one and only spectator. ‘Nocturna’ is over, let someone turn on the light.