Today post is dedicated to a masterpiece of the Spanish 19th century painter: Luis Ricardo Falero. Falero was born in Granada in 1851 and died in London in 1896. His family could send him to study in UK in Richmond University when he was nine: a prodigy boy. Later he travelled to Paris, so his formation was multilingual and cosmopolitan. No doubt, he learnt from Victorians and Academicists to form his personal style. Surely, he was close to occultists and theosophs, and because of it he preferred magic and orientalist motives for his paintings. But the main object of his painting was always the woman. Nude women are present all over his art, as we can see in this masterpiece: Vision of Faust.
Vision of Faust (1878) is inspired in the first part of Goethe’s Faust, the passage where Mephisto shows the Walpurgis Night to Faust in Blocksberg, a peak of Harz mountains in Germany. Walpurgis Night is a traditional holiday for Nordic and Celtic people that celebrates the Spring Equinox, but later was diminished and the people considered this day as a meeting of witches with Satan. This is just the way in which Mephisto shows to Faust this celebration.
Other artists from 19th century who represented Walpurgis Night or meetings between witches were sordid and dark such as Aquelarre (1819-1823) by Goya or Walpurgis Nacht (1829) by Johann Heinrich Ramberg. However Falero’s Vision of Faust is quite sexual and orgiastic, there are devils and bats, but beautiful nude witches dominate the whole painting, doing pink the main colour of the canvas.
The Falero’s witches are disposed in several positions, are foreshortened figures, floating in the air. They are nude and their bodies are voluptuous, it´s an orgy, a painting completely indecorous to be approved by the Academy.
Apart from the witches, there are devil criatures: a bat, a reptile, an old woman, a skeleton, and most of all the incarnation of Satan in a billy-goat. There is also a nude man in the right side that could be Faust involved in the orgy, though it´s only a suggestion.
To watch this painting is just to be a voyeur, Falero wants to show us how a Sabbath should be: no terrible but extremely lascivious. Watching this paint is to be invited to contemplate a satanic bacchanal.