D'après Las Meninas

Oil on canvas
278 x 237 cm
From the artist’s collection, Madrid


Around 1969, Toral abandoned the path that was leading him toward abstraction to launch himself into a figurative painting, imaginative and poetic, whose leitmotiv is the idea of the journey. ‘The continual appearance of iconographic motives such as suitcases, wrapped-up objects, hotel rooms, places on the point of being abandoned, railway stations and so on draws the spectator’s attention toward a notion such as the one referred to, which over the years has been deepened and enriched to transcend the level of mere anecdote or of literal readings.’ (Pedro A. Cruz Sánchez, ‘El viaje a ninguna parte. Cristóbal Toral y la “retórica del alejamiento”’, Cristóbal Toral. Pinturas, acuarelas, dibujos y esculturas [exh. cat.]. Madrid, Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Sociedad Estatal para la acción cultural exterior, 2003, p. 53).

As a tribute to the painters of the Spanish tradition, in 1974-1975 Toral painted two large canvases, D’après Las Meninas and D’après La Familia de Carlos IV, proof of his great regard for Velázquez and Goya. The metamorphosis is even more radical in D’après Las Meninas; the suitcases, next to the abandoned canvas, fill the space formerly occupied by the infanta and her servants. The only human figures are those of the chamberlain in the doorway and the blurred image of the king and queen in the mirror, which, together with the presence of objects from our time in a 17th century interior, give the work a magical, almost surreal quality.

Cristóbal Toral

Torre Alháquime (Cádiz), 1940

After studying at art schools in Malaga, Seville and Madrid, he devoted himself to painting full time in 1967. His work, which combines realistic figuration with oneiric images, evokes real or imaginary journeys. His favourite themes are the female nude, still-lifes and suitcases.