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Romanticism (flourishing at end of the XVIII century and beginning of the XIX century) would wake up the interest of many artist for the far and exotic lands, Andalucía would be among those unexplored and raw places. Cities like Córdoba would serve as inspiration for artists. In exchange for that the cities gained a portrait, living memories quite helpful when investigating our past. 

The “Great Tour” is what they called these initiation romantic voyages. It could be said that, to a certain point, those romantic voyagers were the first tourists, as those “Tours” were in fact the origin of the nowadays concept of “Tourism”. Back then, however, traveling had a profound cultural and educative approach. Córdoba in that time was immersed in a deep decadent process. Some historian estimated its population in no more than 15.000 souls.

Just imagine the decay of a city that once was one of the richest of its time with almost a million inhabitants blessed by the Guadalquivir. The leftovers of this great civilization, the wonder hidden among its ruins were of the utmost interest to those first romantics. They would usually purchase pieces of great historic value for a few rusty coins. There are many museums and private collections that begun that way.

Some people blame the horde of romantics of making up the Spanish stereotype, according to which Spaniards dress like bullfighters and sleep siestas non-stop. Even so, what remains an undisputed fact is the rich pictorial heritage and patrimony that artists like Gustav Doré, Eugene Delacroix, Alexanfre Laborde, Théophile Gautier, Richard Ford, Antoine de Latour, Dumas (who coined the popular expression "Africa begins at the Pyrenees"), Merimée, David Roberts, Saunier… left us. A heritage that is part of our history.

The Museum  of Fine Arts of Córdoba has organized and interesting exhibition from the 6th of June to the 1stof October. The collection exhibited was donated by José Manuel Camacho, a professor of Literature that transferred his collection in 1945 to the Museum.
For more information.


 

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