Daniella Stalingovskis: España as Text 2019

Daniella Stalingovskis is a junior in FIU Honors College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Analytics with a minor in Economics. She attended the Honors Spain program in the summer of 2019. Here are her as texts in Spain.

Madrid as Text:

Postcards of various Las Castas paintings for sale 06/07/19

“Wait a Minute Mr. Postman” by Daniella Stalingovskis of FIU at Museo de Americas, Madrid

When exploring and immersing myself about the history of the Americas in the Museo de Americas, I noticed how many controversial paintings in the museum were not fully explained to their visitors. It makes it seem that it is Spain’s intention to hide the oppression they caused under the rug and to still glorify their perspective of the golden age period in Spain when they conquered the Americas while ignoring the other side of the story of the indigenous people and the African slaves that were forcibly abused during Spain’s reign. The most noticeable example were the Las Castas paintings on display where no in-depth explanation as to what these paintings are and why they were created in the first place. It was not for aesthetics, but it served as a public reminder of one’s place in society based on one’s lineage. These paintings served as a reinforcement of Spain’s paranoia of a pure European and Christian bloodline and if one does not fully fit the criteria, one would not be able to live a life with economic or financial freedom. After visiting the museum, I stumbled across the souvenir shop and saw a rack of postcards with those same images. The same paintings that reinforced the oppressive caste system based on one’s bloodline that predetermines one’s entire lifestyle. It is problematic, ignorant, exploitative, and offensive to those who suffered during those times and are used for a measly half a euro for opportunistic gain for profit.

Segovia/Toledo as Text:

Wooden Sculpture of Jesus Christ by Gregorio Fernandez between 1631-1636 at the Cathedral of Segovia 06/10/19

“The Beauty of Faith” by Daniella Stalingovskis of FIU at the Cathedral of Segovia

I have always considered myself as an agnostic person when it comes to the topic of religion. However, when visiting the Cathedral of Segovia, the most intricate and complex wooden sculpture simply entranced me. This version was created by Gregorio Fernández during 1631-1636 and he made only 14 versions that were created of the same design. The amount of effort and time spent to develop a realistic wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion is phenomenal considering the period it was created in. Fernández used cork to create the wounds on the body, polychrome wood for the body and fabrics, and a bull’s horn and animal bones for the fingernails, toenails, and the teeth. Despite my agnostic background, I deeply appreciate the religious artworks and devotions that the sculptors and artists had as motivation to create beautiful and realistic pieces such as this. I was amazed how the fabrics were not real but wooden as well as the pillow that Jesus Christ is resting his head on. Witnessing pieces such as this makes me wonder about the creativity and dedication within people is obtainable no matter what era or technology is available. We have so many resources and technology for woodworking and creating sculptures now than we did back in the 17th century but this sculpture looks so recent and well crafted with the tools Fernández had back then. Overall, it is a beautiful and intricate sculpture that uses creative methods available at the time to have a realistic result such as this sculpture of Jesus Christ.

Cordoba & Granada as Text:

Sevilla as Text:

Sitges as Text:

Barcelona as Text:

Montserrat as Text:

Leave a Reply