critical texts


Don Quixote in the Cuban Visual Arts
Enrique Larroque

Along history the human being creates myths, both to please his need of imagination, as well as, mainly, to immortalize the great passions, the restlessness and dreams prevailing in life. From the earliest civilizations, those born around the Nile, the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, there is a continual process of modelling new myths turning around the idea of opposition between Good and Evil in its permanent struggle. The Spanish literature has brough about diverse myths which have moved intact from culture to culture, as centuries went by. From them the two most important are Don Quixote, as prototype of idealism, and Don Juan, as mirror of love adventure. In the same way that Good and Evil antithesis are present in each and every civilizations, despite its apparent simplicity, the contrast between realism and idealism, between pragmatism and day-dreaming continually takes place in everyone´s life. We have, indeed, an idealistic component and another realistic, from which we cannot get rid. And Don Quixote, the Gentleman, by himself, undoubtedly is the clearest and firmest representation on the idealism underlying each and every human being nature. Because, to sum up, a great part of huiman existence consists on attempting things above what reason advises at ground level... From one side we settle our feet in the ground and we root in reality territory. From the other, we wish to raise our arms and watch over infinite horizons. We lean on the concrete topic as well as in the utopian. Thus, Sancho Panza is the most suitable spokesman of good sense, of rotundity on ideas, of reality extent, while Don Quixote keeps imperturbable the universe of ideals which makes beautify everything watched around him. What the Gentleman says and he efforts to carry out t is no more than a string of madness rejected by good sense; and however, Sancho Panza helps him with all his strenght, he is faithful until death, sometimes he is convinced that impossible dreams will become facts. Cuba is a country where archetypes flourish, where utopias are carried out, where the great passions find unyielding souls to defend them. For that reason, it is not strange that a Cuban artist be so an excellent designer on that great pasion figure who was, and is, Don Quixote.
(Excerpts from texts by Enrique Larroque, former ambassador from Spain in Cuba, for the catalog Apuntes y Dibujos sobre Don Quijote de la Mancha, Juan Moreira, January 1985)