Balenciaga and Spanish Painting

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An elegant clothbound volume celebrating the master fashion designer Balenciaga's affinity for Spanish painting

This book surveys the significant influence that the painters of the so-called Spanish School had on the creative process of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the great master couturier of the 20th century.

Balenciaga was born in the Spanish coastal town of Getaria in 1895 and was the son of a seamstress. His mother made clothing for prominent families including the Marquis and Marquise of Casa Torres who spent their summers in Getaria. It was at their mansion that the young designer first admired the garments by the best London tailors and the most reputed Parisian couturiers, and where he was able to enjoy the magnificent art collection owned by the couple.

Balenciaga was known for his ability to take historical garments and render them in a highly modern way, with the use of clean lines and pure forms that earned him the epithet of the architect of fashion.

Throughout his career, Balenciaga took delight in the colors, volumes and forms of the fabrics depicted in the paintings of Velázquez, El Greco, Zurbarán, Goya, Raimundo de Madrazo and Zuloaga, among others. References to Spanish culture were present in his work and continued to be seen even in his most groundbreaking period. Balenciaga and Spanish Painting features a selection of paintings and valuable items of clothing from the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and other national museums, as well as private collections.

Though it would seem impossible to replicate El Greco's gleaming fabrics in real life, Balenciaga manages to do just that. -Hyperallergic

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