Painter Cristino de Vera: “I always pursued the mysterious, tried to penetrate it”

Cristino de Vera He is like an ordinary saint. Here he is, sitting in his usual chair next to Gregorian music, watching with wounded eyes how time passes for himself and for his life. He lives in the center of Madrid, unaware of the world, looking for all the colors of the air on the dull horizon. Now, halfway through his field of vision, he looks inside, He searches in words and silence for the voice that continues to tell him where the light is.the mood of the picture.

Do not look for stones or concrete issues in him, he lives by thinking about the ethics of silence and speaks as if he is interpreting it. He once told me: “We would have to confront our poor and limited language with the divine calligraphy that turns everything into the silence of the greatest desert, of deep loneliness.”

as if Clear, painful paintings made of earth and air, the heirs of Zurbarán or Luis Fernández, but above all from the silence his teachers inspired him with. That’s what he says Juan Manuel Bonetart critic, “a picture hermit”.

Bonet is responsible for the aesthetic organization of the exhibition that 92-year-old Tenerife native Cristino de Vera will open on February 15. Rome Cervantes Institute. Sponsored by Caja Canarias Foundation and for Cristino de Vera Foundation Organized thanks to the artist (who has exhibitions and his own work center in La Laguna) and other organizations on the island, this exhibition marks the painter’s return to Rome, where he lived at the Italian art school in 1962 on a Foundation scholarship. March.

Cristino de Vera at his home in Madrid. José Luis Roca

Talking to Cristino de Vera, who does not leave his canary accent behind and speaks as if he were reading poetry or composing music, is to get closer to the poetry that has accompanied him for years like playing a guitar, always following his inspiration carefully. This later became a testimony to a landscape that inspired his paintings. Unamuno or by ‘Don Quixote’, because the Castilian plain and the features of the island (Teide, distances, Montaña Pelada del Médano) are his inspiration and companion.

Question: He was on a scholarship in Rome in 1962. You are not going now, but your picture is going to Rome.

A. I went to Rome and many other places. From there, I wrote to the March Foundation about what I learned, the beauties I saw, what I learned… I learned the beauty of Italy. It is the country that has accumulated the most beauty. So I saw Italy piling up. In religions that describe the divine, the energy of time, I paid attention to the silence that the human soul maintains… I always maintained some faith, sometimes it faded, but I always had a relationship with the divine.

‘Walls and two white objects’, Cristino de Vera (1997). ©Cristino Vera Foundation – Caja Canarias Foundation

Question: Sometimes this belief would flare up… When?

A. When I listen to the music of Juan Sebastián Bach. That music helped me a lot, its choir, its voices, its musicians, the voices become rarer and more spiritual. And ultimately, what dominates that music is silence. The idea is that through silence you reach the soul of the music, and this is the greatness of Bach.

Q. Silence was like a divine presence for you.

A. Yes, silence is like light from within. To me, silence is the feeling of being close to dawn after that night journey. I saw a light that I had never seen in any museum in India, a purple light that turned blue. This almost ethereal atmosphere reminded me of Fra Angelico. This was beauty taken to the level of meditation and prayer. There is a spiritual connection between all arts; This is what poetry and writing do with them. It is also the factor that unites not only Christianity, but all religions: all of them.

“People think religion is for kids’ first contact, and sometimes they don’t dive into that light that comes to you in the morning, which is a divine message wrapped in a white light.”

Q. Your life is a long inner journey…

A. I sought out all the mysteries that could restore your faith. People think that religion is for children’s first encounters, and they don’t dive into that light that sometimes comes to you in the morning, which is the divine message wrapped in a white light.

Q. Where does that inner light come from that guides your art, your life?

A. Everything is coming the divine part of the soul, the soul… I turn to Bach: His music is watered down and turns that incredible beauty into a miracle of silence.

Q. Now your painting is going to Rome. What should those who go to see your paintings pay attention to?

A. Let them look for what I am looking for. What I look for in Prado is the scent of silence, simplicity and calm. That monkish atmosphere that silence has… Silence is a dialogue approaching the divine. It explains what no language can explain, it strengthens the mind, it is like a diamond that needs to be cared for like flowers in the garden.

Q. Juan Manuel Bonet says that the essence of his painting is light, the influence of Zurbarán, del Greco, Piero de la Francesca… He also names Luis Fernández, Vázquez Díaz…

C. Everyone is looking for the same philosophy, the same music, as if it accompanies you to the hidden, to the silence of the desert, fearlessly, in silence.

The mystery of light is night, but it doesn’t matter where the view is; “It’s the silence it conveys that drives you to paint it.”

Q. You are a painter from Castile and also from the Canary Islands, worlds very different from each other…

A. My father was from Granadilla like my grandfather, there is still something mysterious about the Guanches. I met Cueva Pintada in Gran Canaria. Castilla is the plain that evokes the silence of Unamuno, of Don Quixote. All landscapes refer to serenity and silence. The air calms, the wind becomes paralyzed, the distant mountains send us a mysterious echo, and then the daylight begins to regulate itself. The mystery of light is night, but it doesn’t matter where the landscape is: it is the silence it conveys that drives you to paint it. In my first exhibition in Madrid there were poets like José Hierro; They called me a mystic and something like that happened. I have always pursued the mysterious, trying to penetrate it.

Question: Years ago you said that you wanted your paintings to be the romance of peace in the universe. This was more than a sentence, it was a wish.

A. We had a civil war. For years in the Canary Islands there were deaths from disease, from tuberculosis, many high school friends died because there was no food: there were potatoes, tomatoes, any cold would knock the boys down…

Cristino de Vera opens an exhibition in Rome on February 15. José Luis Roca

Q. What are the Canary Islands to you? Maybe a poem.

A. A poem, yes. Maybe the last poem… I’m looking at you, Red Mountain. I look at your beaches, your silence, the curves of the sea entering you with the aggression of the waves. I’m looking at the boats, I’m looking at you, Red Mountain…

Q. ¿HE painting exhibition Is yours traveling to Rome?

A. The last part of my painting. Most important. ‘Villain landscape’, ‘Jesus and Castile’, ‘Teide, clouds and white glasses’, ‘Skulls’… Bonet chose him that way, and he is very wise.

Q. Your Art is born and lives in awe.

A. Suffering falls within the scope of art and human suffering. To philosophize is to learn to die. The world, like the time you live in, is also very temporary. You have a garden, but you need to cultivate it. You must learn to meditate, to be content with silence, not to think… The serenity you seek clears away the things you have been taught that do not serve you.

Source: Informacion


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