Plutarch wrote that the art of painting is ‘silent poetry’.
There’s hardly room for disagreement with the author of “Parallel Lives” after admiring
Ulpiano Checa’s painting which can be seen at the museum located in his hometown, Colmenar de Oreja.
Poetry describes and conveys emotions.
And classical painters transformed emotions into art.
Take, for instance, one example among thousands: “Susannah and the Elders” by Tintoretto , where fear, desire, narcissism and the undeniable thrill of ‘looking’ unseen by others, are masterfully portrayed…
Back to Checa’s painting.
Does the beautiful nymph serve as a source of inspiration for the elderly man as he attempts to compose beautiful verses?
Or does her attitude represents emotions such as admiration, obedience, submission or naïve whim?
A friend of mine shared with me the notion that she appears to be dictating to his ‘Pygmalion’ a sort of shopping list of items to be found in any big city Golden Mile. Moreover, my friend’s companion added that, due to the nymph’s apparent wish list, her protector seemed to be in the process of going broke.
I stayed with the opinion of Lucia, the wife of my friend : ‘The painting tells just a love story.’
Another friend recommended to me that I approach the paintings of the old masters without reading its titles. Thus, the contextualization of the artistic works should be left to the eye of the beholder.
He added that the art of painting is meant to express emotions that inspire thinking without banalisation.
Back to the title of Checa’s work. Lucia was right :
‘The Nymph Egeria dictating the Laws of Rome to Numa Pompilio ‘ Oil on canvas. 300 x 200 cm. 1885
Director : Ulpiano Checa. Great Spanish painter, contemporary of Sorolla. His memory deserves to be
Writer : Plutarch.
Theatre : Museum Ulpiano Checa. Calle Maria Teresa Freire, 2, 28380 Colmenar de Oreja, Madrid
Phone: +34 918 08 90 02
Numa Pompilio : Plutarch attributes him, the second King of Rome, the establishment of the temple of Vestal.
Nymph Egeria : Consort of Numa Pompilio