Composición (Composition)

Benjamín Palencia

Barrax, Albacete, Spain, 1894 - Madrid, Spain, 1980
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Oil and sand on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    73,5 x 100 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Benjamín Palencia’s interest in cave paintings probably went back to this first years in Madrid, which would explain the presence among his books of an old publication by Hugo Obermaier and the Count of la Vega del Sella about the paintings at the El Buxu cave in Asturias. All of Palencia’s avowed admiration for the primitive, the prehistoric and fundamentally for the artifice-free primeval, has its plastic reflection in his works between 1932 and 1934, which is to say, those done at the height of the Vallecas School, such as Composición (Composition), from 1933. While never straying from an abundant use of material, Palencia recuperates the figure, as the shapes take on movement, evoking organic matter and representing beings somewhere between the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds. The quintessential Surrealist theme of metamorphosis comes through in these compositions representing fossils, tauromachy and, basically, all the motifs identified with the archetypes of Hispanic culture, which Palencia absorbs into Castilian rural life.

Paloma Esteban Leal