Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Cadiz is the departure point of a trip to traverse Spain, from south to north, seeking the real sceneries of battles painted by artists.

The beginning is not very rosy. I show at the Cadiz Museum’s director a reproduction of the Cadiz Defence painted by Zurbaran in 1634, kept in the Prado’s Museum. It is clear that Zurbaran was never here. The Bay of Cadiz is shown surrounded by mountains and is represented from a very high point of view, while our greatest height is only 14 meters Antonio Alvarez says. And he suggests me that to is a lithography called Leaving Cadiz which was the cover the museum’s catalogue for the exhibition held in October 2005, Cadiz and Trafalgar. The illustrated City.1805. A sharp breakwater protects the marina and provides me with a very similar view to the painter. The sun is just emerging over the horizon and the blue sea is a mirror, broken only by the little Terns diving for fish. The silhouette of the cathedral, city hall and other buildings, which appear in the painting, still standing, are no longer visible from the breakwater. A wall of blocks of flats and offices hide them.


The outcome of the battle is well known. On October 21, 1805, the French-Spanish fleet, commanded by Villeneuve and arranged in the form of crescent, was sectioned as a cheese by the British fleet commanded by Admiral Nelson. At dusk, the same day, the die was cast and the hundreds of bodies floating and the remains of sunken ships were the image of the Spanish and French fleet defeat.

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